In The Tracks...
More Changes for 2016 Season: Points and G-W-C Finishes
February 13, 2016

Changes for 2016 have been announced. Other than the new Charter ownership system, NASCAR announced the introduction of the Overtime Line and some minor changes to the point system. The Overtime Line will have an impact on the green-white-checkered finishes and the point system changes are as a result of the changes based on the new Charter ownership system.

The Overtime Line is a new line on the race track most likely positioned between the start/finish line and turn one. The location will vary depending on the track. The location will be determined by a few factors with the purpose of allowing NASCAR to watch the restart of the green-white-checkered to make sure it is a clean and valid restart. Once the leader of the race crosses the Overtime Line following the restart the restart is determined to be valid and clean and the next caution flag will freeze the field for the finish. The teams will need to continue to the checkered flag following the caution to retain their frozen position for the finish. Or, if there is no caution then the race will conclude with the completion of the final two laps in the race to the checkered flag. In the past, three green-white-checkered attempts were the limit, but NASCAR's bulletin about the new Overtime Line states that "multiple subsequent attempts" may be made to achieve a clean restart. NASCAR mentions no specific limit to the number of attempts.

The Overtime Line is in response to the disaster at Talladega last fall when Kevin Harvick wrecked the field on the green-white-checkered restart in order to transfer to the next round of the Chase.

The point system changes affect all three of NASCAR's top series. The change is based upon the Charter ownership system change in the Cup Series as well as the introduction of the Chase format to the Xfinity and Trucks Series. The changes affect the maximum number of points the winner can receive in a race. Previously, the winner would receive 43 points as the maximum number of cars in the races were 43. This does not include bonus points, which will remain unchanged from 2015 rules. Now, in the Cup and Xfinity Series the total number of cars is now limited to 40, so the maximum points earned by the winner will now be 40 points plus bonus points. The Trucks will have a 32 truck field and as a result, the winner will earn 32 points plus bonus points. In all three series the positions second to last will drop by one point each back until either 40th place in Cup and Xfinity and 32nd in Trucks will receive one point. This will make gaining points on the leaders harder and make winning more important to earn a place in the Chase.

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