Tha Sports Junkies 101

The Monday Cool Down: Little Wins Don’t Reward Big

Stage Wins Sample Photo NASCARMedia

Drivers With Stage Wins Through Two Race Weekends Remind Fans Finishing The Deal Is Key.


As NASCAR departs from Motor Speedway, there’s a reminder that races ain’t over until that black and white checker flag is waved. The stage format has once again served us that, that some wins aren’t really big. It’s the final stretch that matters, regardless of flags or tiny trophies.

Stats and Facts

Through six official points races, 8 different drivers has wins in at least one stage of a race. Three of those eight won both stages of their respective races. Johnny Sauter won both Daytona truck stages, Christopher Bell won both Atlanta truck stages, and Kevin Harvick won both Atlanta CUP stages. However, Bell was the only one able to go on to win the final stage. Sauter was collected in a last lap crash at Daytona and a penalty cost Harvick at Atlanta.

What does this mean and what impact is there in the format?

Wins only mean something when the full race distance is compete. Sure, Tiny wins can boost a team’s morale. But, failing to end with a big win negates it completely. Crashes and penalties can be venom to an otherwise dominate race for a driver. For example, Harvick’s speeding penalty on the last round of stops killed an otherwise flawless effort. Meanwhile, A trouble bound Keselowski team saw hope and victory lane without a stage win all day as a result.

While the format was made to reward consistency and good runs throughout a race. It’s also a pressure cooker to win races. Drivers are reminded with this format that races aren’t really over when the sage ending flag waves. They’ve only started their journeys to victory lane when they finish one in first. NASCAR has done a great thing with this format in this regard, and that is mix the both sides of the coin. They’ve rewarded race long performance, while keeping the actual finish to races in the main aspect.

The Bottomline

Overall, the format is a challenge to both the drivers and teams to keep the pace of the race in their hands. Sure, stage wins are neat in the short run, but not big in the long run. But, Actual race wins are and still will be a teams ultimate goal during any race weekend. It’s a process all must get used to, but can only execute so greatly at 180+ MPH. All of it is racing and it’s never over until the black and while checker flag waves. Let no other type of flag or trophy tell you otherwise, regardless of format.