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How do NASCAR Points Work?
February 17, 2021

The point system is not as confusing as one might think. A few years back NASCAR condensed the point range for the finishing positions from a range of 185 to 0 to a range of 40 to 0. The former bonus points for leading a lap and leading the most laps have been discontinued. Instead, NASCAR broke the races into stages. Most of the races are in 3 stages, but because of the distance of the 600 at Charlotte on Memorial Day weekend they have broken that race into 4 stages. When the playoffs were started they created the playoff points. Playoff points are awarded at the end of the stages and the race.
Stage Points
Position
Points
1
10
2
9
3
8
4
7
5
6
6
5
7
4
8
3
9
2
10
1

Stage points. The stage points are awarded to the top ten finishers of the first two stages (first three stages at the 600). Ten points are given to the winner, nine for second, eight for third, seven for fourth...two for ninth and one for tenth.

Finishing position points. The finishing position points start with 40 points to the winner. Starting with second place that receives 35 points, the points decrease by one per position. Third place receives 34 points, fourth receives 33 points, fifth receives 32 points...all the way to 36th place who receives 1 point. Positions 37th, 38th, 39th and 40th also receive one point each.

Finishing Positions
Position Points Position Points Position Points Position Points
1 40 11 26 21 16 31 6
2 35 12 25 22 15 32 5
3 34 13 24 23 14 33 4
4 33 14 23 24 13 34 3
5 32 15 22 25 12 35 2
6 31 16 21 26 11 36 1
7 30 17 20 27 10 37 1
8 29 18 19 28 9 38 1
9 28 19 18 29 8 39 1
10 27 20 17 30 7 40 1

General points. The stage points and the finishing points are added together in the standings to the points total. This point total is what determines who qualifies for the playoffs along with the win total for each team. Each team that wins a race qualifies for the playoffs. For the Cup Series, if there arenít 16 different winners in the 26 race regular season, then the stage points and race finishing points total determine the rest of the playoff teams.
Playoff Points
Winning a stage
1
Winning the race
5

Playoff points. At the end of each stage and the race playoff points are awarded. At the end of the stages, 1 playoff point is awarded to the winner of the stage. At the end of the race, 5 points are awarded to the winner of the race. These points accumulate in a separate point total from those that accumulate for finishing the race and the stage points. The playoff points are what determines the seeding for the playoffs. Playoff points are accumulated at each race, including those races in the playoffs. At the start of each round of the playoffs the seeding is set by the playoff points. At the start of the first round of the playoffs the teams that qualify for the playoffs are all elevated to 2,000 points plus their playoff point total. The resulting totals set the seeding for the round. At the start of the second round of playoffs the points are adjusted to 3,000 points plus the playoff points. Playoff points carry throughout the playoffs until the final round. The final round of the playoffs is the final four teams with a one race battle. The leader of the four teams wins the championship.

Each team must declare the series that they wish to earn points in, but they can run more than one series. Drivers racing in a series that they havenít declared their points series will not earn any stage, playoff or finishing position points for the race.

 
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