How the NASCAR Driver points system works
In 2016 NASCAR made a huge change to the points system that they use to award the Drivers Regular Season Championship and to set the Playoff drivers who will be running for the overall NASCAR Cup Championship.
The Point System
Each finishing spot in the field of 40 cars earns a driver’s point for a maximum of 40 points. For example, first place gets 40 points, 2nd gets 39 points, and so on until 40th place receives 1 point.
Stages are another way for drivers to earn points. Each race has three stages. Drivers who finish in the top 10 at the end of the 1st and 2nd stages will receive points, starting with 10 points for 1st place, 9 points for 2nd place, and so on, until 10th place receives 1 point. Points won during stages are added to what the driver will earn with his final stage finishing position.
Points are accumulated over the regular season and decide which 16 drivers will run for the Cup for the regular-season championship. The 16 drivers compete against each other to gain points in the playoffs 3 elimination rounds. Each round, the last 4 drivers are cut until the final Championship race where the final 4 drivers go head-to-head and the top finishing driver in the field wins the NASCAR CUP Championship.
This system is used by all 3 of the top NASCAR Touring Series except for the Xfinity Series and Truck Series which includes 12 drivers in the playoffs. Other than that, each playoff is the same format, leaving 4 drivers to duke it out at the final race of the season.