Rule Changes for 2023 Season: No Road Course Stage Breaks

Ron Lemasters | 2/2/2023

News

A pair of rules changes that will have some bearing on the 2023 season were announced on Tuesday, and while not game-changing, both are germane to JR Motorsports' pursuit of a NASCAR Xfinity Series championship.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 2, 2023) -- A pair of rules changes that will have some bearing on the 2023 season were announced on Tuesday, and while not game-changing, both are germane to JR Motorsports' pursuit of a NASCAR Xfinity Series championship.

The biggest change on the track has to do with stage breaks at road-course races with the exception of the stand-alone NXS and NCTS events at Portland International Raceway, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Road America. Points will be paid at the stage-ending lap with no break in the on-track activity.

The change was undertaken following a review of data from NASCAR's Fan Council date and other discussions within the industry. Per NASCAR, it allows teams to increase strategy and to create more interesting racing for fans.

Jason Burdett, crew chief for Brandon Jones' No. 9 Menards Chevrolet, said that was a good opportunity.

"For us, it opens up some strategies that you can do throughout the race," Burdett said. "The way the stage breaks broke the races up in the Xfinity Series, you had to pick either points or no points. Now, it maybe breaks it up so that you can do a little of both, give yourself an opportunity to win at the end. It gives us a little bit of strategy back to where we can manage the race a little differently."

Given that road-course races have fewer laps than oval events, it made for a difficult split.

"You were always in that box: you had to pit early to not pit under yellow because you knew when that caution was coming, so you can get back to the front and keep your track position," Burdett said. "Now, you don't necessarily know when that caution flag is going to be or if there's going to be one. Maybe now you can position yourself a little differently to maybe have the opportunity to get both stage points and an opportunity at the end.

"Our series is tough with stages even on ovals, so this will hopefully be a lot better for road racing."

A change in playoff eligibility rules is also in the offing. NASCAR has removed the requirement that a driver finish in the top 30 (Cup Series) or top 20 (NXS and Craftsman Truck Series) in points to be eligible for the playoffs. Drivers still must start every race to be eligible or have a waiver from the sanctioning body (as in for injury).

One other rule would eliminate the last-lap move made in the cutoff Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway by Ross Chastain, in which he rode the wall at speed all the way around Turns 3 and 4 to earn his way into the Championship 4.

"NASCAR will deem any future use of that maneuver as unsafe per Section 10.5.2.6.A of the NASCAR Rule Book," read the text that accompanied the rules clarifications. "To ensure that our competitors do not employ strategies that may compromise the safety of themselves, other competitors or fans, NASCAR will issue a time penalty to any vehicle that attempts an unsafe maneuver such as the one performed at Martinsville."

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • February 18 05:00 PM ET
    Beef. It's What's For Dinner. 300Daytona International Speedway
  • February 25 05:00 PM ET
    Production Alliance 300Auto Club Speedway
  • March 4 04:30 PM ET
    Alsco Uniforms 300Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • March 11 04:30 PM ET
    United Rentals 200Phoenix Raceway
  • March 18 05:00 PM ET
    RAPTOR 250Atlanta Motor Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Dead On Tools 250

Martinsville Speedway | 10/29/2022
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Noah Gragson (P)40000
2Ty Gibbs (P)40000
3Josh Berry (P)40000
4Justin Allgaier (P)40000
5AJ Allmendinger (P)2297-1703
6Austin Hill # (P)2245-1755
7Sam Mayer (P)2231-1769