NASCAR announced the addition of a fourth stage to the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The four stages will all be set to 100 laps apiece for the 400-lap race.
In the release, NASCAR stated it will “Provide fans with yet another opportunity for a memorable moment in a season already filled with them.”
Mid-season announcements from NASCAR are nothing new, but this one comes at a time when it seems as though NASCAR is trying to make a clear distinction between the two races held at Charlotte Motor Speedway in back-to-back weeks.
Roughly a month ago, NASCAR changed the format for the All-Star race with changes that were underwhelming for some fans.
Regardless of those changes, the additional stage added to the Coca-Cola 600 seems like a change that Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, thinks will help with the excitement of the longest race on NASCAR’s schedule.
“The stage racing format is delivering more dramatic moments over an entire race, fueling tremendous racing action this season. With a fourth stage added to the Coca-Cola 600, the historic event will have another layer of strategy for teams, and even more excitement within the race for fans.”
Marcus Smith, president and chief operating officer of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., thinks it is only fitting to provide an extra playoff point.
“It’s only fitting that teams have an opportunity to be rewarded for the extra effort required to win at the 600. An additional stage win and that extra playoff point in May could be critical for playoff success in the fall.”