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Up to Speed: Time for NASCAR to Rethink Stage Racing

NASCAR stage racing has been around since 2017. Now in the fifth year of its current format, will this rule be the next one to fall by the wayside as the sport goes through a wave of recent changes?

As recently as a few years ago, it seemed almost unbelievable NASCAR would make major adjustments to its Cup Series schedule.  However, the 2021 season brought a dirt race to Bristol Motor Speedway and a visit to Circuit of the Americas (COTA).  Still to come are the first ever Cup race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the first top-tier NASCAR race at Road America in over 60 years.

Looking toward the future, many in the industry are keeping watch on the developments surrounding Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, as well as the planning of Auto Club Speedway’s reconfiguration into a short track.  There is even talk about hosting a street race in Chicago.  Give NASCAR credit for following through with its pledge to bring more road courses and short tracks to the Cup Series schedule.

That said, the exploration of new racing venues comes with a caveat.  If NASCAR is going to continue experimenting with new types of tracks, especially road courses, then the sanctioning body must be willing to make changes to its race day operations and competition rules.  Some fans have advocated for expanded use of local yellows.  Additionally, the Cup Series race at COTA revealed NASCAR still has a lot to learn about racing in the rain.

Yet if there is one policy that is currently holding NASCAR’s road racing back, it is stages.  The problems with this type of split racing format have been so numerous and frustrating they have become a detriment to NASCAR at every type of track.  Simply put, stage racing has not delivered on the goals or promises that supported its creation.  So, while NASCAR is in a mood for evaluating of the Cup Series schedule, why not talk about revising, or eliminating, stage racing?

Both of the Cup Series events this weekend and next highlight some of the problems with stage racing.  During a typical race, drivers who perform well during the first and second stages can rack up a lot of points, perhaps too many compared to what is earned by their finishing position.  It is not uncommon to see someone other than the race winner earn more points in a typical race weekend thanks to stages.  This problem is magnified in the Coca-Cola 600, which is the only race split into four stages.  As a result, NASCAR’s longest race offers more points than any other event all year.

The logic behind offering extra stage points for the Coca-Cola 600 has never made sense.  It may be NASCAR’s longest race, but it is not the most important or prestigious.  The Daytona 500 is NASCAR’s marquee event each season, without question, and should award the most points.  Yes, NASCAR does offer bonus points for top-10 finishes in the Daytona qualifying races.  But those are technically separate events that have not been considered official races of the Cup Series season for decades.

That means the Coca-Cola 600 is the only event with extra points offered to a full field of competitors during the race itself.  It may be a longer race than the Daytona 500, but longer doesn’t automatically mean better or carry additional weight.

Correlating stage points with race length is not consistent with NASCAR’s rules.  Otherwise, wouldn’t a typical Cup Series race of about 300 miles at tracks like Phoenix Raceway or New Hampshire Motor Speedway only be two stages?  It seems like the sanctioning body just threw an extra stage into the Coca-Cola 600 for the sake of breaking the race up even more.  And if you are going to split a 600-mile event into four segments of 150 miles each, then what is the point of having an endurance race in the first place?

Meanwhile, next week’s race at Sonoma Raceway is likely to be negatively impacted by stages.  In years past, one of the best aspects of racing at Sonoma was the different pit strategies teams would use.  Generally speaking, the goal was to either complete the race with two pit stops and spend the least amount of time possible on pit road, or use a three-stop strategy with the added benefit of fresh tires and an opportunity for adjustments closer to the end of the race.

But since nobody knew if or when the yellow flag would come out, crew chiefs had to be flexible.  Teams needed to have a plan in place before the race, but the plan could not be so rigid as to be rendered ineffective by a caution period.  Watching teams trying to adapt their strategies to changing race conditions made Sonoma fun.

But with stage racing, the element of surprise is gone.  Knowing ahead of time when two cautions are coming creates a situation where race day strategies are much more uniform throughout the field.  As a result, the last few races at Sonoma have been glorified parades.  Instead of drivers trying to leapfrog their way to the front of the pack with good strategy, the only way to make up ground is on track.  That can be quite tricky in a big, heavy stock car on a twisty track like Sonoma, where passing opportunities are limited.

Hopefully, NASCAR’s Gen-7 car will be better suited to Sonoma, which has suffered in the Gen-6 era.  But removing stages there certainly would not hurt.

There are other ways stages have caused unintended problems.  NASCAR has argued in the past that dedicated caution periods following stages will provide natural opportunities for commercials, which will cut down on green flag commercial time.  However, anyone who watched Friday’s (May 28) Camping World Truck Series race knows NASCAR’s broadcast partners have no qualms about showing commercials within 10 laps of a stage ending and during the following caution period.

Additionally, while stage endings do cause drivers to race more aggressively during the middle portions of races, they also create opportunities for extra crashes.  You see this trend happen most often on superspeedways, venues where NASCAR’s drivers don’t need any additional risk of serious wrecks.  There is also the very valid philosophical objection cautions should only be used when there is a hazardous condition on the track and not for entertainment purposes.

Considering all of its drawbacks, stage racing is more trouble than it’s worth.  Yet NASCAR continues to stand by the policy.  That is exactly why any schedule changes, experimentation with race format and even the design of the new car must be meant with some skepticism.  NASCAR should actively seek to create a better racing product but its leadership has not shown a willingness to admit mistakes or walk back policies that don’t work.  The use of stages, not to mention the elimination style playoffs, is proof enough of that.

Perhaps a new schedule full of road courses and short tracks really will usher in an era of better racing.  But leaving the current stage format unattended brings a risk of taking these potentially positive changes and dragging them down.

See also
Up to Speed: Stage Racing Makes All-Star Event Just Another Race

RACE WEEKEND CENTRAL: CHARLOTTE

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Bill B

You act like there was a higher purpose to the stages besides providing a break in the race to show commercials and bunching everyone up for a restart since that’s the only time there is passing. The only good thing about the stages is that they pretty much did away with fake debris cautions.

Mark Hayes

I like Stage racing because otherwise there’s no reason to watch until the last 50 laps – just go mow the lawn – ‘cause little matters till then without Stage Racing. I think that they should increase the value for winning a Stage so it’s even more intense to do well.

Livinadr

Who heard of stopping the race so everyone can catch up? Stupis!

Jimmy C

Stage racing is not racing, you dont give the competition time to catch up, we might as well give everyone a participation trophy and have no winner, because we are all winners !!! Lets just race from flag to flag please and thank you. Just sayn.

James Wagley

I AGREE WITH YOU , GO BACK TO THE ORIGINAL RACING FORMAT…..NO MORE STAGE RACING …RUN WHAT YOU BRUNG FROM GREEN FLAG TO CHECKERED FLAG

James

I agree 100%

Dennis Apgar

I remember those days, Ty for bringing that up..

Willaim Chapman

Its like kids today dont teach them competition just win with points. So feeling arent hurt.

Carl D.

I have never understood the rationale for awarding points for being ahead at arbitrary points in the race. And the idea that a finisher other than the winner can walk away with the most points goes against common sense.

Christopher

If I recall, it’s original rationale was to stop teams from just riding around until it was time to go, motivating them to be ‘on it’ for the entire race (applicable to long races like Daytona, Talladega, the 600 where drivers would often bide their time and hang at the back until 30 to go). Whether that was the actual reason is of course something only known to NASCAR, since the reality of stage racing is scheduled commercial breaks and multiple scheduled restarts. They could accomplish the the motivation by awarding stage points without stage breaks if it was really about motivation and not ad dollars

John Andrus

Absolutely. Award points but don’t stop the race. Other types of racing do that, so, why can’t NASCAR?

Carroll Hobb

They can still lay back at Daytona n Dega, knowing there’s known breaks to adjust the car, they can move up in the pack relay how car is then get in clean Air an relay how car is also then go for it at the end that’s why now you see more crashes within 10 to go!

Ed

Take Denny Hamlin for example. Has not won a race yet leads the points 🤷‍♂️

Johnny Appleseed

The only thing worse than stage racing is “the competition caution”. A blown right front tire on a car that pushed the envelope too far is the only true competition caution.

Dennis Apgar

The pandemic created this as normal, didn’t have one at the 600 as practice was allowed..

Kimberly Hindbaugh

I agree. Let’s get back to practice then qualifying and run a whole race without scheduled caution flags.

Tony

I’m with you, I see no point in stages either. It just makes no sense.

Dennis Apgar

Yea I’d rather see a car 25 laps ahead of the field for the win 😆

Daryl Sultemeier

Agree 100%. Yes sponsorship is important but it takes away from the continuity. The stages system is handing out (frankly wasting time) by awarding points which pale in comparison to the old system. The old system truly awards the top finishers and not randomly who placed in the top ten during a part of the race. You race until you finish. Skill, endurance, and talent. Let’s do away with the stage racing system which is comparable to kids getting “participation awards” in grade school.

Jake

I must’ve missed it but who won the Stages at the Indy 500?

Christopher

Ricky Bobby

janice

LOL. and most commercials were ran side by side with racing.

Carl D.

Thant’s funny, but consider… the Indy 500 has no stages and was easily the more exciting of the two races yesterday, no gimmicks required.

Christopher

Absolutely true. That was a great Indy 500.

Carla E Miller

I absolutely agree they need to cancel stage racing and make it just like the Indy 500 where they erase around when they need to let them plan their strategies stop all of the sillies crap that they’re doing I heard that it was because they try to make itself or because of the accident that are arnhart senior hat but actually I think it makes it more dangerous punching them up and making them all go as fast as they can for 5 times in the middle of the race I like it the old way let them figure out if they got the balls enough to win by doing the right tracks stops and comparisons and everything

Jo

What does Earnhardt’s wreck have to do with stage racing? Absolutely nothing!

John

Great Comment Jake !!

Philip P.

I don’t understand why the stage end creates a caution. Award the points and keep racing! The point is to see who gets to the end first.

Pete

Great suggestion. How about not counting vaution laps in the last half of the race..or even at all.

Rob

I think tandem racing better it’s more competitive then stage racing and all that car is doing is ruining it more and more I’ve been watching it for 25 years and it gets worse let him right back in the old days the technology we have right now for safety one hurt them going back parcel like in the past that’s what racing doll about

Skip Ririe

Exactly! In the good old days NASCAR paid half way money but no body stopped racing

Echo

195 commercials about 1 hour 14 minutes worth- jayski

Dennis Apgar

Agree, at the 600 Fox really outdid itself with tons of advertising.. Had time to cut my lawn 😆

Jo

It wasn’t the stages that made the 600 a snooze-fest. It was the lack of cautions and the near impossibility of passing the leader. The reason the Indy 500 was so much better was that the racing was great from start to finish. The 1.5 mile courses give us crappy racing.

If the Coke 600 had been run without stage breaks, the boredom factor would have been exactly the same.

JW Farmer

Then why watch at all. These are good drivers. Why watch to see a wreck? Certainly the “entertainment” value is high with wrecks, but don’t be a fair-weather fan. You are, or aren’t. I watch the entire races, regardless. The internet is full of “whine, whine, whine.”

Jo

I watched the entire race – although I admit I also had it muted and was reading a book at the time. Last weekend I watched all three races.

I am not a fan of wrecks – that’s why I hate Daytona and Dega, but with the current HP, aero and tire packages, the races are boring and there’s really no way to see if these are really “good drivers” as you claim. Maybe we can see it at the road courses and short tracks, but the 1.5 mile tracks are all snooze-fests and have been for years. That’s not whining – that’s stating a fact.

Instead of wrecks, maybe NASCAR just needs competition cautions every 20 laps at the 1.5 and 2 mile tracks.

Mark Mundwiller

The coke 600 has always been a snoozer.

John Phillips

I am 66 years old and have been a Nascar fan since the early 70s
I had several Stock Cars at local short tracks won about 30 races and 2 Championships and was Crew Chief for a low budget Winston cup car in the early 80s when Nascar started with the stage racing I completely lost interest I not only didn’t watch the indy race but never even thought about the 600 Nascar’ lost a 50 year fan (I FISH ON SUNDAY NOW)

Dennis Apgar

In the old days Larson would have been 10 laps ahead of second place instead of 10 seconds.

JW Farmer

Stage racing sucks. The cars on the track have much more durability than in years past. Calling for shorter races is for babies. They should be longer and people should remove their cellphones from their faces and watch. Larson DID stink up the show but he had the best car and he wheeled it. As one mid-2000s song says, “Get, Get, Get, Get over it.” That is the natural flow of a race. If you aren’t going to support NASCAR and spew negative comments, go somewhere else because all you are doing with your negativity is turning off potential fans. Good driving creates an event that doesn’t feature stupidity in wrecks and mistakes. It’s a race, not a Kardashian TV special.

WJ Cattleprod

Then why watch at all? These are good drivers. Certainly the “entertainment” value is high with stages, but don’t be a fair-weather fan. You are, or aren’t. I watch the entire races, regardless. The internet is full of “whine, whine, whine.”

Dennis Apgar

Well said!

David Nance

If negative comments are going to turn off potential fans then that points to a pretty weak product doesn’t it? I would venture to say that Stage Racing and the Playoff Format has driven more existing fans away from the sport than has drawn new fans to it. I’d like to believe the author wrote this asking an honest question to make the sport the best it can be. Isn’t a better sport what we all want? In a day and time when we are only starting to go back to the track and have had to rely on TV and have seen those numbers drop from over 19 million viewers (with fans at tracks at full capacity), to less than 3 million at reduced capacity points to a troubling trend that hardly needs people encouraging fans to leave the sport. 15 million have taken that advice so far. As far as blindly following NASCAR, it ain’t going to happen. Any Sanctioning Body who allows a damaged truck to slow into the racing groove without throwing a caution resulting in a vicious collision needs to get their act together first. But don’t be concerned about Stage Racing-it ain’t going away. It’s true purpose has come out now the sport is shifting to sport betting. Ain’t for the fans, ain’t for the competition, it’s more betting points and that’s the new revenue stream. So it’s going nowhere anytime soon.

Daniel Self

I agree that stage breaks were designed to encourage drivers to get up on the wheel for the whole race. It discouraged laying back until go time. When stages were introduced, I didn’t necessarily like then as much, as I do now. It bunches the pack up and creates better racing.

Larry W Lueck

No stage,NoDirt, No. Commercials Be Great Thing!

Wokeless1

Amen!

Joseph George

How are tv channels going to pay the bill with no commercials?

David Russell Edwards

Lets not try and inject reality into this.
Maybe some people will prefer to go back to the 60’s and just have the highlights shown on Wide World of Sports a couple of weeks later.
Seems like their is a vocal group that would prefer it to go backwards.

DoninAjax

The networks don’t need a stage break (TV time out) to go to a commercial. In case you didn’t notice there are a lot of commercials at other times during the comedy routines of the stooges in the booth.

Timmyt

Why can’t they stop after each stage race and give the trophy out as well

Rich

Keep the stages, keeps the racing thru-out the race, DUMP the playoffs… bring back a chance for year-long consistency by doing so. First one to the checkers in one race doesn’t make a champion… Playoffs make us look like stick and ball/plain ball sports, which we aren’t… NASCAR is better than that, always has been and should always be so.

IslayMalt

The playoffs/chase/whatever the hell it’s supposed to be, will never end. The networks are not going to pay to broadcast the final few races if someone has already locked up the Championship. Now why all of the non-chase cars are also on the track when they cannot win a Championship? I have no idea. If NASCAR/Fox/NBC want to play gimmicks, then the final race should just have 4? cars. Boring as hell most likely, but it’s a Playoff, right?

Joseph George

So you going to watch 16 cars run 400 and 500 laps? Lol
Those guys are still running for owner, manufacturer points as well as sponsors pay to be advertise. Not be shut out because you feel they don’t deserve to be there.

CLIFFORD L DAVIDSON

I mean it was like this before the playoff. It was called being mathematical eliminated from championship contention. Only difference is that by half way in the season realistic 80 percent of drivers were out of the championship picture and if 10 to go it was 2…3 drivers if you are lucky. Which is fine I lived through so many championship format.

Joseph George

Playoffs aren’t going anywhere.
Stage racing isn’t broken, and stop trying to ruin a good thing by going backwards.

Willy P

Let’s eliminate stage cautions altogether but give points to top ten at whatever lap would have been a stage. That way racing and strategy stays continuous and crews have to stay on their game knowing there will be points but no stage caution break.
Something needs to be done before Nascar shoots itself in the foot again.

Pete

No stage cautions, just points..and do not count caution laps as race laps. That is part of the appeal of dirt trackers.

Joseph George

They still going to pit, and then you will just miss green flag laps cause tv still going to commercials.

Joseph George

They still need to pit, they are out of fuel and tires.
I see no downfall with the present system. I do see many with no caution.

John Dawg Chapman

I also thought that Indy was a much better race. I’m not opposed to the stages, but what I’m opposed to is the NASCAR “giveaways.” At Indy, as it was in NASCAR, when your lapped. The only way to get unlapped is to pass the leader. No lucky dog, & no wave arounds.

Joseph George

Then lap(s) down cars will be starting with lead lap cars on restarts, and pitting with lead lap cars.
Lol. Yeah. We tried that. Didn’t work.

Steven Taylor

I have been a stock car racing fan since the 60’s. I have seen many changes. I think stage racing was and is a great idea and addition. It’s a stick and carrot tool. And it works. Racing to the end of a stage often times brings excitement and drama. It’s doing exactly what it was intended to do.
That said. Should NASCAR look at changes for some of types of aforementioned tracks the author mentions? Perhaps.

Mike

Get rid of cautions that last forever for just a routine spin and the win and your in is a joke

Stewart Williams

Stage racing is nascar way of giving a participation trophy.

Joseph George

Never seen them get a trophy for a stage win!
And I’m pretty sure points matter more than ever since stage racing.

George McGee

Not only should stage racing be eliminated but the opening and closing of pit road should be eliminated too. I know NASCAR does this to showcase pit stops but damnit the fastest car and best driver on that given day should determine the race winner. If I remember correctly this was instituted during the time when manual scoring was in effect. It is no longer needed. And while I’m on a roll, free passes and wave arounds need to go by the wayside too. I’m afraid Nascar has given in to the television networks and corporate sponsors and as a result we no longer have a true form of racing.

Matty

@georgemcgee – you nailed every complaint us fans have….please c.c. your comments to Daytona

Ed

I agree they should do away with the FREE pass. If you get lapped and get the free pass that gives you a lot more time to adjust your car. And usually it shows. Just be more prepared next time.

Joseph George

So you want lap cars starting with lead lap cars racing for position? Lol. Yeah. That didn’t work!

Sally Chambers

You are so right!! I miss the old days when the drivers had to drive and not depend on wave around or lucky dog passes. It was back in the days you had to really know how a car reacted to a track. There was no stage racing. You either won or wrecked trying. You always raced back to the caution and didn’t care how may times it took to get a cleansing finish or restart. Wrecking is racing!!! Bring back the old NASCAR. When it was popular.

Ken Mathis

Amen- I don’t watch hoping for a wreck – but hey it’s balls to the wall boys – stage racing is bull sh__ ! Get up on that wheel and race – Been a fan for ever

Joseph George

When did the fastest crew or car always win before?
The fastest car and team won this week, and at Darlington.
Closing pit road 2 laps before isn’t a issue for me. As a matter of fact the racing now is better than it’s ever been!

Dave

Your right, Nascar is not about pleasing the fans anymore, Its about money,, the France Family crashed racing along time ago.

Tom B

Stage racing does bring extra excitement to these races. A real aggressive team/driver can accumulate a lot of points by the end of the racing season. What I see is a way to make the drivers race all the laps.
TV networks can go to a commercial any time they want. I don’t see Stages as the primary cause for commercials.

Jarrett

NASCAR has jumped the shark. It’s time to go back to the days of win on Sunday sell on Monday. Use stock bodied cars with a V8. They can be made safe. Bring the V8’s back to something that the manufacturer sells instead of some exotic one off.

Jeff

Your wrong. I want the best driver to win not the best manufacturer.

David Russell Edwards

No way that you can make a unibodied car safe at the speeds they run today. Would I prefer stock bodies? Without a doubt.
But is it going to happen? No. That said composite bodies give them the opportunity to come as close possible.
just remember they were cheating on the steel bodies in the mid 60’s as well.

Nikki O

Do away with the stage racing!

Matty G

Races are advertised for certainly n length yet NASCAR counts yellow flag at stage intervals as laps.
I’m surprised someone hasn’t filed a class action lawsuit for misleading race fans.

Susan M Kolander

Absolutely HATE STAGE RACEING😠. That’s the reason I quit watching Nascar

Bill Travers

My wife and I were 30+ year fans, had season tickets at Kansas Speedway for 14years. Then they brought in stage racing. We haven’t watched a NASCAR race for 3 years now as it just killed the flow of the races.

Jo

Guess what? NASCAR doesn’t give a flying f**k about you and the rest of the nursing home contingent.

Benjamin Morgan

No stage raceing

Sally Chambers

I say do away with stage racing and go back to the old points system. I understand that Earnhardt Seniors wreck changed NASCAR. Some of it is better but the political bull and the stupid way the points are handed out do to stage racing makes it impossible to sit down and watch. Plus to see the same people(Kyle Busch) whine makes me change the channel.

Jo

How did Earnhardt’s wreck have ANYTHING to do with stage racing or the points system?

And NOBODY whines like an old-time NASCAR fan!

Joseph George

What don’t you understand about stage points. It’s very easy to understand and on no way deters anyone from watching.
They have to race there butts off to get points.
I’d rather not watch a race where they wait till the last 20 laps to race.

Bill

Seniors death had nothing to do with this dumb ass stage racing ! A real fan would know that .

TOM MCCOY

How about points for each lap in the race?
Added up at the end of the race for final race point totals.
Additional points for a win, laps led, whatever.
Points for each laps makes for competitive racing at the back of the pack.

Joseph George

So, back of the pack now get points for running back of the pack?

Jo

Great job, Bryan! You certainly succeeded in bringing the old-time fans in with their clicks and comments. However, I hope you’re aware that NASCAR is not concerned with fans who are still pining for Dale Earnhardt, Sr. or have even heard of him. The demographics of this site have to be largely white males over 65 years of age who haven’t actually been to a race in more than a decade.

Tom B

You may have gotten the demographics right, but your character judgments are wrong. You’re part of the problem, intolerant of other peoples views.

Chris

Just glad this guy doesn’t make the rules of NASCAR.

Lance McCullough

I was a HUGE Nascar fan until stage racing started. Now,I don’t even watch it. I think it just ruined the sport totally.

Robert harris

Stage racing sucks and needs to be taken off the nascar register permanent.

Bobabooey

Split the race in half only the top 3 drivers get any points at halftime and dont throw a caution.

Kati

Award the stage points, that’s fine, just don’t throw the caution. Race the entire race, not 3 separate races.

Joseph George

They still going to pit, lol. They need tires and fuel. Plus then you will be bitching your missing green flag racing.

Mark Mundwiller

this has nothing to do with the stages. I think since the pandemic there is no practice or qualifying. To me this has made the racing better. Makes it more like the old days and Saturday nights at the track.

Captain America

Until the fool’s throw politics and racism out the window, nascar gets nothing from me.

Joseph George

Better check yourself, cause it’s pepe like you who bring politics and racism into NASCAR. NASCAR did nothing! The FBI handle the situation!
Stop blaming NASCAR for your political and social views.

Joseph George

Love stage racing, best thing that’s happened to cup, Xfinity and trucks series racing in the last 10 yrs.
Hopefully, NASCAR doesn’t listen to the whiners and anti NASCAR Monday morning crew chiefs.

PaulGibson

The way to have better stock car racing is proper good down force, high horsepower and tire development to handle the higer loads and car maneuverability. Make reflexes and courage the key. Now it definitely takes courage because all the drivers say it’s like driving on ice. Oh yeh, done that. Not fun

Marky Mark

Do away with stages and free pass. Probably can’t happen but I would like to see less cars on the track. There are too many drivers on the track that have no shot at ever winning a race.

Rj WATKINS

Ok.. shut up.. just because you have a column, ray barron, doesn’t mean you need to flap your gums about stuff you dont understand.. I thank moses, that someone had the sight beyond sight to come up with stage racing. watching long races, where 90% of the field is laped by halfway sucked and you know it. I’m old school on every sport but stage racing helped save nascar and make it more interesting. so go flip some waffles instead of running your trap. Or talk about next gen cars not even being close to stock. that should be the conversation. I hate the one center lug. so go fix that..

Wayne S.

I didn’t like Stage racing from the beginning. On average there are 8 to 10 caution laps at the end of stage 1 and stage 2 that they are not racing, VERY BORING. Nascar needs to wake up. I’ve been a race fan for over 55 years that’s not racing. I enjoy watching the teams come to the pits when they HAVE to get gas, tires, and adjustments. Races are won or lost in the pits.

Dav_Daddy

I don’t mind stage racing but throwing a caution is unnecessary but really is the only way to make races at 1.5 mile tracks watchable.

This author along with all in the comments fail to address the root problem with speedway racing for NASCAR. That stupid damn front splitter! Before that speedway racing was excellent. I never imagined that stupid thing would make it past 1.5 mile race, cars lined up drafting down the straight then everybody fans out in the corner looking for fresh air on the nose so the thing will turn. That’s why sports cars don’t race on ovals. That’s why you see being in the lead is such an advantage the car in front takes the best line and any challenger has to run outside the groove just to get to him. By the time the gap is closed you’ve used up and/or overheated the tires.

I don’t hate the chase either. I just wish they’d award a title based on year long results as well. Which ever is more prestigious is whichever they say is kinda like (and they loathe this comparison) in WWE.

Christopher

Not only the splitter, but the elimination of the ride height requirement, the contorted, slab-sided bodies, aero in general have ruined NASCAR (as well as F1). It will be interesting to see what happens with the symmetrically bodied new car. Unfortunately it will still have a splitter instead of a front valance.

Kramer

Make races 2 stages and at the end of the 1st stage, flip the entire order of the field and give any/all cars running laps down the “lucky dog” free pass. Winner starts stage 2 at the back and has to work their way to the front.

Larry

Best racing is dirt late model racing

Skip Wilton

Stage racing ruins racing, they have little to no reason to plan a pitstop or even have a pitstop strategy…I use to race a local nascar track, if you want to make racing good again, throw the green and the checkers and maybe a yellow or two, people want or need to pit they can when they want. Now I’m really against people getting hurt but if you take away the injury factor and other aspect and turn it into an homogenized race you won’t last another 20 year.

Kurt C Gustafson

I’m fine with the stages and points, but the actual practice of stopping the race needs to end, and that would solve most peoples problems.

You still give drivers a reason to race hard through the middle portion of the race, and teams still get an opportunity to beef up the post season points, AND we still get pit strategy shakeups and natural consequences of hard racing for 400-600 miles.

If they could do that, and go to a straight 10 race chase like the original, things would be gimmicky enough to attract new people by keeping up some of the forced excitement, but also the opportunity for events to unfold to some degree on their own.

Edward Going

I started loving racing in the late 50’s. The dirt tracks of North & South Carolina and Darlington. What happens now now at tracks is almost impossible to recognize. TV and some of the second generation France family have almost ruined the entire tradi room of talented drivers,, mechanics, and crews .running hard, finding an edge no one else had figured out. Smokey Yunick, Junior Johnson, Fireball Roberts were the legends that made Nascar, not IROC cars or stage races. Nascar was a unique racing format but is no longer viable in the form it has become

Jimbob

1. No stage racing on road courses.
2. 3 – 500 mile races per year Daytona , Dega , Charlotte May race
3. After every stage, cars on the lead lap are reversed for the restart
4. Less people over the wall with next gen car ,
5. What kinds of thoughts do drivers have to change or improve the racing?
5.

Ryder

I have listing to races on radio since 1953 I liked raceing when lap cars started on the inside and lead cars on the out side no lucky dog or a lucky chicken or a cold hot dog or 25 car wave around and then talk about how much better race is now race your way back up front Stage race is horse s—-t

Larryg

Quit watch since started stage racing. Also do not attend in person at events. I liked old school racing. Goodbye NASCAR

Jo

Why are you here? It’s not an airport – no need to announce your departure, Karen!

Jo

It seems a bunch of residents at the old-folks home all got access to their one computer to comment on how the state of racing (and the rest of the world) today is not nearly as good as it was in the 1950’s. Some of it is readable if one ignores the spelling. And Bryan Gable who appears to be much younger, decided to write a column that would finally get some attention and then forwarded it to his great grandma at that home!

File this column and comments under : People who cannot accept reality.

Rick

I’ve hated stage racing from the start. This is the Top series of Nascar and we’re subjected to freaking heat races and a damn main. Come on Nascar you’ve been losing people for years and you can’t even slow the bleeding. I can watch that anywhere and the when these prima donnas get wreaked or the weekend didn’t go well they bitch and moan, who gives a rats ass. I seen a man earlier said he likes stage racing, before it you could now the lawn and it watch the last 50 laps, HELL people do that with stage racing…..DUHHHH. POOL

Terry

I like stage racing. Brings more action to the show. I remember before stage racing I would only watch the last 25 laps because so many drivers would just cruise through the race waiting on the finish

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