Tha Sports Junkies 101

Stage Racing: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Stage Racing at Daytona


Entering the 2017 NASCAR Season one of the larger topics of conversation among fans was that of the newly implemented stage racing. As a fan of the sport, just like many of the others, I was largely against the rule changes. The rule changes largely felt like NASCAR trying to generate artificial entertainment. It seemed like it was just NASCAR trying to prevent races from going green for the majority of the race. Many people thought it was just NASCAR trying to stop having to throw “phantom cautions”. Speculation like this is something to expect from a fan base that is as passionate as NASCAR fans though. With a big rule change like Stage Racing, it was certain to stir up some controversy.

The Good

However, with now being six races into the season Stage Racing has worked out better than anyone expected. The races include more strategy and risk-taking early in the race than ever before. Teams will seemingly do anything to earn those extra points for finishing in the top ten positions in one of the first two stages. It is always a welcome change when it makes the drivers run harder in the earlier stages.

The majority of the races so far have also had a natural feel to them, in terms of cautions. The cautions have also not in any way felt out of place and that is a positive for NASCAR. It seems as if phantom cautions could be a thing of the past. Knowing when a caution comes out is good for both the fans at home and at the track as it provides them opportunities to go do what they need to do without missing any green flag action. I think much of the success with stage racing so far as to do with the fans knowing when the caution will be out. It isn’t like when the race is green for 150 laps and then a caution with no explanation comes out and that is a welcome change.

The Bad

With the above being stated though it does not mean that Stage Racing has been all good. Even with most of what it has done for the sport being positive, there is one massive issue. That issue is caution length between stages. This time is of course set aside to do things like advertising but, there is no excuse for when these cautions begin taking well over ten minutes to complete. As fans on the couch, it’s bad enough seemingly seeing an endless assortment of advertisements just picture being a fan at the track. While at the track fans are just left in their seats watching an extensive period of pacing. There is no doubt that NASCAR needs to tighten up the time-frame in between stages.

The Ugly

There have been the goods and bads that have come from Stage Racing so far but there is one situation that rubbed me completely the wrong way. That is the situation of Kyle Busch and Ricky Stenhouse this past week at Martinsville. Kyle Busch being the leader coming to the finish of stage two was all but taken out by a lap car in Ricky Stenhouse. All of this was to just get back on the lead lap just ten laps past halfway in the race. There is never a time where a lap car should be laying the bumper into the leader of the race. Short Track or not that was a bush league move by Stenhouse that could haunt him. While the announcers played it off as the excitement of Stage Racing, I am not buying it. It is something that has been frowned upon since NASCAR started.


In conclusion, Stage Racing has been a massive up this year. While it has it’s downs and still needs work it’s a step forward. With the proper attention from the minds at the top, I’m confident it’s something NASCAR will continue to improve.