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NASCAR on stage racing: ‘Definitely here to stay’

AUTO: JUN 25 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series - Toyota/Save Mart 350

SONOMA, CA - JUNE 25: The Start of the race at the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series- Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma,CA on June 25, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A senior NASCAR executive reiterated the sanctioning body’s support for stage racing but noted potential changes will be examined for next season.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, made the comments Monday on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Asked about the status of stage racing as NASCAR nears the midpoint of the season for its national series, O’Donnell said:

“Definitely here to stay. We’ll sit down with the same group that kind of came up with that concept. We really liked what we’ve seen, and the industry does as well, the strategy that is playing out.

“The things that will be on the table, do you add one (stage), do you look at the different stages in terms of lengths, the number of caution laps, maybe starting the second stage from Lap 1 instead of kind of eight laps in versus caution laps counting or maybe take those off the backend. A lot of those things will be on the table for us but continue to be real enthusiastic how those are playing out.’’

The only change with stages in Cup this season was NASCAR’s decision to add a fourth stage for the Coca-Cola 600, the sport’s longest race of the season.

NASCAR announced last week it was adjusting the stages for the Xfinity race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The stages will end after Lap 30 and Lap 60. Previously, the stages were to have ended after Lap 25 and Lap 50. The change was made after consultation with teams on expected fuel and tire runs.

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