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Following its announcement of the new charter system for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2016, NASCAR has revealed new procedures for Daytona 500 qualifying as it pertains to the system as well as the decreased 40-car field.
As has historically been the case, two qualifying races (the Can-Am Duels) will take place on Feb. 18 following the standard time-based qualifying period on Sunday, Feb. 14. With the new charter system, 36 teams will be locked into the field (as with all races during the 2016 season) regardless of qualifying speed and finishing position in the Can-Am Duels. The four remaining spots will be filled by the fastest two non-charter teams in the opening qualifying round and then by the top finishing non-charter team in each qualifying race.
Should the fastest non-charter qualifier also end up the top finisher in his or her duel race, the spot will go to the next fastest driver in the pole qualifying round not already in the field.
The rest of the procedure for setting the field for the Daytona 500 remains unchanged; while the front row of the race will be determined by pole qualifying on Sunday, the rest of the starting grid will follow from finishing positions in the Can-Am Duels.
Additionally, NASCAR announced the implementation of an overtime line for green-white-checkered finishes. The positioning of the line will vary per track, but the gist remains the same: If a restart occurs and the leader of the race has not yet passed the overtime line when another caution flies, the restart will not count and will be attempted again until a restart that includes the passing of the overtime line has been achieved.
If a caution flag is flown after the leader passes the overtime line on a green-white-checkered finish, the race will end.
The overtime line rule will affect all three national NASCAR series.
Finally, NASCAR revealed the new point system for the Sprint Cup Series following the decrease from a 43-car field to just 40 cars. In each race, the race winner will be awarded 40 points toward the championship (if eligible), and so on until 40th place, which will be awarded one point. Bonus points for the winner and lap leaders will be added to these totals as usual.
For more information on the rule changes, visit NASCAR.com.
About the author
Rutherford is the managing editor of Frontstretch, a position he gained in 2015 after serving on the editing staff for two years. At his day job, he's a journalist covering music and rock charts at Billboard. He lives in New York City, but his heart is in Ohio -- you know, like that Hawthorne Heights song.