The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series has made a change to its stage-based race format specifically for its longest race of the year.
NASCAR announced Monday that the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be comprised of four stages, rather than three.
The series initially planned to have intermissions on Lap 115 and Lap 230, but after further consideration, decided to breakup the 600-mile race into four 100-lap increments.
“You look at the way Charlotte was laid out and the length of the race, it was just sort of a natural to add another one to break it up a little further and make a few more moments,” Scott Miller, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition, said in a statement.
NASCAR’s decision adds an additional opportunity for drivers to earn championship points — as well as a participation trophy — and an extra round of yellow-flag pit stops. Speedway Motorsports Inc.’s CEO Marcus Smith reportedly said the increase in how many points are on offer during the race was part of the reason NASCAR added the fourth stage.
“It’s only fitting that teams have an opportunity to be rewarded for the extra effort required to win at the 600,” Smith told NASCAR.com. “An additional stage win and that extra playoff point in May could be critical for playoff success in the fall.”
Between Fernando Alonso’s much-anticipated Indianapolis 500 debut, Jenson Button’s Formula One return and a revised race format in the Coca-Cola 600, race fans certainly will have a lot to look out for on May 28.
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