Aggressive stage racing is the new NASCAR

NASCAR VP: “That’s going to be NASCAR racing in the future.”

A lot has changed for NASCAR in recent years. Probably the biggest change to the sport has been the introduction of stage racing. Though, I think stage racing is just now coming into full effect.

In the Daytona 500, the moves were aggressive to claim stage points. Stages 1,2 and 3 all featured a big crash in the closing laps during the course of the Daytona 500.

Is that a product of stage racing? Likely so. Martin Truex Jr dominated stage racing in 2017. The end result was a 2017 MENCS championship.

With the birth of the 2018 NASCAR season, it’s clear that drivers have come to realize the importance of stage points. The stage ending aggression is expected to carry on beyond Daytona. It’s the new NASCAR.

“100% and that’s why it’s there,” NASCAR executive Steve O’Donnell stated on the Morning Drive via Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.

“That’s going to be NASCAR racing in the future. If you want to win a championship you’ve got to be up on the wheel, winning stages and getting points throughout the race.”

“That comes with some aggressive driving. But, that’s what the fans want. They want to see that. They want to see their driver up front and leading as much as they can.”

“We’re going to see that all year long.”

Austin Dillon wins at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 18: Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 DOW Chevrolet, takes the checkered to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 60th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2018 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

At the same time, you saw a mix of traditional and new in the 2018 Daytona 500. The famed #3 and #43 sat at the top of the scoring sheets.

“It really felt like going in, almost like the old NASCAR. Some of our fans have said, ‘Hey he miss this a little bit.’ For a couple years, we had struggled.”

“Going into the race you looked at the storylines and the number of established veterans who’ve won championships. Then, the young drivers who wanted to knock on the door and make a name for themselves. You saw that during the race.”

“The leaderboard at the end with the #3 and the #43, it certainly takes people back in time. Then, you look at the drivers who are in those cars it sets a bright line for the future.”

Austin Dillon drove the #3 car to victory lane in the 2018 Daytona 500. Bubba Wallace took the #43 to a runner-up finish.


Related: “NASCAR is a contact sport.” -NASCAR VP

Related: 2018 Daytona 500 Results


Steve O’Donnell | Sirius XMDaytona | NASCAR