With less than two weeks before the 2020 NASCAR racing season begins, NASCAR officials continue to make changes and tweak the system in order to give racing fans a more exciting experience.
The latest adjustment is a change to the stage lengths for several of the races. The changes will reduce the length of the final stage of 16 NASCAR Cup races. NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller said that the change is being made to require only one green flag pit stop during the third stage of a race.
NASCAR introduced the race stages during the 2017 racing season and is used across all three NASCAR racing series.
Miller said, “with the 550 (horsepower) engine package, the fuel mileage was different and the fuel windows got really tight before this change. All this does, really, is make it so in the final stage, there’s more than a couple laps option for the field to pit and it gives a little bit more leeway at the end on fuel should we go into overtime.”
NASCAR competition officials considered several options including adding a fourth stage before making the decision to shorten the stage. The 600 mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Memorial Day weekend is the only race that will have four stages.
NASCAR officials have also made some changes to determining when a race is deemed “official” in inclement weather conditions. Prior to the introduction of stage racing, a race was considered official once it had reached one lap past the halfway point; once stage racing was introduced, a race became official at the end of stage two. Beginning with the 2020 racing season, a race will be official under both conditions – halfway or at the end of stage two; whichever comes first.
In other NASCAR changes…
When the Xfinity Series run their inaugural road course at The Brickyard in Indianapolis, the drivers will run a 2.41 mile race with 14 turns. The drivers will use the same tire configuration used at Road America and Mid-Ohio.
The Triple Truck Challenge in the Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series will return with the challenge taking place at Richmond Raceway, Dover International Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway. NASCAR has also lifted the entry deadline restoration for the Challenge.
NASCAR officials are looking at bringing more cars back the the R&D Center for closer inspections after each race.