NASCAR Should Try Heat Races
Races are long, and even after the addition of stages in 2017, intensity is not at the same level in the middle of the race as it is at the end. This is a well known fact. Stage racing was supposed to help this problem, but the results have been hit and miss. There have been good battles for stage wins, such as the end of Stage 1 in the 2017 Southern 500, which had a three-way battle between Martin Truex, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Larson. Truex dramatically took the lead at the last moment to win. But it’s more common for the stage winner to go unchallenged. And battles for stage wins can’t be as all-out as those for race wins, because a driver has to save his car for the final flag. But what if his options were win a stage or be eliminated?
I’m proposing a format similar that used during All-Star Races. The top fifteen qualifiers get locked into the Main race (≈ 200 mi.) and the