Rusty Wallace isn't a fan of stage racing format
While on a media tour in Buffalo, N.Y., to promote Sunday's GoBowling.com at The Glen Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International, NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace said he wasn't a fan of stage racing.
"The stage racing is something that half the people like and half the people hate," Wallace said, according to a Buffalo News article. "If anyone tells you that it's overwhelmingly the most popular thing, in my opinion, it's not. I'm around a lot of people, and I would say it's pretty split among the fans. I'm a big fan of NASCAR, but I'm also an old-school guy. So I'm not a fan of this style of racing. I like it the way it was.”
NASCAR implemented a stage-racing format in 2017. Most races are divided into three stages -- two stages of equal distance followed by a longer third stage. The exception is the Coca-Cola 600, the Cup Series' longest race of the season. That 400-lap race distance is broken into four 100-lap stages. Regular-season oints are awarded to the top-10 drivers at the end of each of the first two stages of races, the first three stages of the Coca-Cola 600, and playoff bonus point are awarded to stage winners.
Wallace also was asked about the playoff system. He didn't say whether or not he liked that system but pointed out that, had the playoff format been used throughout his driving career, he'd have three more championships. Wallace has one Cup Series title, won in 1989.
"As far as the NASCAR playoff system goes, I look at those playoffs they have now, and they tell me that if they had the current playoff system in NASCAR back when I was driving, I would have won three more championships,” Wallace said. "It's all designed on winning, and back then, I won a ton of races. In 1993, I won 10 races. In 1994, I won eight.”
NASCAR went to its "Chase" format near the end of Wallace's driving career, in 2004. Under the "Chase" format, the final 10 races were separated from the rest of the season, and during those races, the top drivers contended for the championship. NASCAR revamped its postseason, going to an elimination-style "playoff" format in 2014. Now, 16 drivers begin the playoffs in championship contention, and four are eliminated every three races, leaving four to contend for the title in the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
During the height of Wallace's driving career points were tallied throughout the season, with no reset or postseason. Wallace competed in NASCAR's top series from 1980 through 2005. He became a full-time driver in the series in 1984.