Under the charter system that was established in 2016, NASCAR Cup Series events can have up to 40 cars in the field. Each finishing spot in the field earns a driver points, from a maximum of 40 points to the driver who finishes first, down to one point for the driver who finishes 40th. These points accrue over a season and determine the driver standings, as well as the owner standings.
The addition of three stages to every points-paying race adds a new element. Drivers can earn race points through their performances in Stage 1 and Stage 2. Drivers who are running first through 10th at the conclusion of Stage 1 and/or Stage 2 will receive points, starting with 10 points for first place, nine points for second place, down to one point for 10th place. Points earned in those two stages are then added to what drivers earn after the Final Stage, which sets the full race results.
Points are accumulated over each of the 36 races. There is a reset for the 16 drivers in the playoffs after the regular-season finale at Daytona, the series’ 26th race of the season. There are additional points resets in the postseason after the completion of each three-race postseason round.
Additionally, a driver can earn bonus playoff points for the following:
— Five playoff points to the race-winning driver
— One playoff bonus point to the driver who wins Stage 1 and/or Stage 2 in every event
Those points are added on to a driver’s total once the postseason starts. The accumulated playoff points will carry over at the start of the Round of 16, Round of 12 and Round of 8.
Other key items to know:
• The driver who starts the race receives the points; a relief driver does not earn points.
• Bonus points are not awarded in the final race of the season to the Championship 4 drivers.
Below is a look at how a driver earns points based on finishing position at the end of the Final Stage.
HOW POINTS ARE AWARDED PER RACE
|Finish in Race||Finish Points|