NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France announced today that the Sprint Cup feeder series, the XFINITY and Camping World Truck series will feature an elimination format, as seen in the Sprint Cup since 2014. The changes mean all 3 NASCAR national series now share the same championship format.
There are small differences between the playoff systems that will be used in the XFINITY and Truck Series to the one that is used in the Sprint Cup. The feeder series will adopt a 7 race playoff format with two elimination rounds as opposed to the 10 race playoff and 3 elimination rounds in the Sprint Cup. Additionally, only 12 slots will be available in the XFINITY series playoff, with just 8 spots up for grabs for the Truck series drivers.
The criteria to get into the playoffs remains the same as it is in Sprint Cup, with drivers having to win races to lock themselves in. What’s more, drivers who race full-time in the Sprint Cup series are automatically illegible to qualify for the XFINITY or Truck Series chase grids even if they win a race.
Brian France says that he thinks that “it’s important the (young drivers) understand how difficult it’s going to be when they get to the Sprint Cup level.”
A number of the front-runners in the XFINITY and Truck Series reacted favourably to the news of the new playoff system, with Ty Dillon tweeting, “Pumped for the Chase Format for @XFINITYRacing @NASCAR_XFINITY. I think we might have won it last year there was a chase. Not sure though.” Similarly, Regan Smith tweeted that he had been hoping for years that the XFINITY series would adopt the format.
The XFINITY Series’ playoffs being at Kentucky in September, with the 12 drivers being taken down to 8 after 2 more races at Dover and Charlotte. The 8 will become the final championship 4 after Kansas, Texas and Phoenix, with the championship decided, as always, at Homestead, Miami. The Truck series’ championship 4 will also fight it out for the title at Homestead after 6 races at New Hampshire, Las Vegas, Talladega, Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix. The full playoff schedules for both series can be seen below:
An additional change was also introduced today for the Camping World Truck Series, with the announcement of the new ‘caution clock’. The caution clock is a timer that is set for 20 minutes after any green flag in the race. Once those 20 minutes elapse, a competition caution will be waved. If a caution comes out before the time runs out, the clock will be reset and will start again with the next green flag.
The caution clock will be turned off for the final 20 laps of all races excluding the races at Pocono and the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. At those 2 races the clock will be turned off with 10 to go. At the dirt-track race at Eldora Speedway there will be no Caution Clock.
You can witness the start of the new championship format for both Sprint Cup feeder series at Daytona next month. The XFINITY championship kicks off on Saturday Feburary 20th with the Powershares QQQ 300. The Truck Series starts a day earlier with the Nextera Energy Resources 250 on Friday February 19th.
Featured image courtesy of nascar.com – http://static.nascar.com/content/dam/nascar/articles/2015/2/10/main/NASCAR-Lifestyle-main.jpg/jcr:content/renditions/original
Article image courtesy of performgroup.com – http://images.performgroup.com/di/library/sporting_news/be/6d/nascar-truck-series-getty-ftrjpg_za4am01moy3hzyonym634py4.jpg?t=952394289
XFINITY and Truck Series playoff schedules images courtesy of NASCAR.com – http://www.nascar.com/en_us/news-media/articles/2016/1/19/xfinity-camping-world-truck-series-chase-elimination-format-for-championship.html