How NASCAR Points Are Awarded

The UPS car races in a NASCAR race
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The NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series, and Camping World Truck Series stars race every week towards the year-end championship. But how do they determine who the Champion is at the end of the year? Winners of each race is awarded 43 regular points, second place received 42 points, and so on. Racers are also eligible for bonus points, which are added to the regular points.

Every race on the schedule is worth the same amount of NASCAR points (except the Budweiser Shootout and the Sprint All-Star race in Charlotte which are not worth any points at all). Winning the Daytona 500 scores exactly the same number of points that winning in Watkins Glen does. This is why it is so important for the racers to run hard every week, there are no "unimportant" races during the season.

The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup

As of the 2011 season, NASCAR changed The Chase format once again. Points are tallied after 26 races and the top ten in points are locked into the final ten race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Those ten drivers will then be manually seeded with three bonus points for every race that they won during the first 26 races of the season.

In addition to the top ten, the two drivers with the most wins who were not in the top ten, but are in the top twenty in points will make the Chase and will be seeded 11th and 12th. They will not get the bonus points for wins going into the Chase.

For the last ten races, NASCAR points are still assigned the same way as the rest of the season to determine the champion.

The Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series do not use The Chase format. They simply race every race, total up the points at the end and award the Championship to the driver that has the most points.

NASCAR Bonus Points

Bonus points are awarded as follows: Three bonus points are awarded to the driver that wins the race. One bonus point is awarded to any driver that leads any lap. An additional bonus point is awarded to the driver that leads the most laps in each race.


Example 1: The most points a driver can earn in a single race is 48. If you win the race (43 points) and lead the most laps you would receive 3 bonus points for winning, one bonus point for leading a lap and one more bonus point for leading the most laps.

Example 2: If you win the race but do not lead the most laps you would receive 47 points, 43 + 3 for winning and 1 bonus point for leading a lap (since you must have led at least the last lap). While the most the second place driver could earn is 44 points. 42 for second, 1 bonus point for leading and 1 additional bonus point for leading the most laps.

It used to be possible for the first and second place finishers to earn the same number of points. NASCAR fixed that in 2004 by giving the race winners extra bonus points. In 2007 NASCAR added even more points to the winner's total. In 2011 NASCAR overhauled the point system but maintained the race winners bonus as it is today.

This point system rewards consistency more than it rewards winning. A full understanding of this NASCAR point system will help you win a NASCAR Championship.