Nascar

NASCAR overhauls race and playoff format

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) NASCAR is dramatically changing its format for the upcoming season, cutting every race into stages that reward points in hopes of make every lap matter.

The overhaul announced Monday assigns three stages to every race. The top 10 drivers at the end of Stage 1 and Stage 2 will be awarded points on a 10-through-1 scale. The third portion of the race will be for the overall victory, and although traditional point scoring will be applied for that stage, the win will be worth 40 points. The rest of the field will be scored on a 35 to 2 scale, and positions 36th to 40 will only receive 1 point.

All points accumulated through the 26-race regular season can be used in the 10-race playoff, which will no longer be called ''The Chase.''

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The new format begins with the Feb. 26 season-opening Daytona 500.

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