CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NASCAR will implement an elimination-style format for its two national development series in 2016 that will differ somewhat from the 16-driver, 10-race format used in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
In the Xfinity Series, the format will feature 12 drivers and seven races, with four drivers eliminated after every three races to set up a four-driver, best-finisher-is-champion race in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
In the Camping World Truck Series, it will be eight drivers and seven races with two drivers eliminated after every three races for a similar four-driver, best-finisher-is-champion finale at Homestead.
The spots in each will be first filled by race winners -- drivers who won a race as long as those drivers are top-30 in points and have attempted to qualify for every race -- with the rest of the field to be set by points.
In Xfinity, any driver who wins two of the bonuses in the "Dash 4 Cash" races -- where four eligible drivers compete for a $100,000 bonus based on best finish -- also will earn a spot in the final 12.
Those "Dash 4 Cash" races -- the April races at Bristol and Richmond, May race at Dover and July race at Indianapolis -- will have two heat races to determine the starting lineups for the main events. For example, at Richmond, there will be two 35-lap heat races and a 140-lap main event. Previously, the race at Richmond was 250 laps.
Just as in Sprint Cup, race winners during an elimination round automatically advance to the next round, with the remaining spots based on points.
In order to keep the focus on the drivers in the developmental series, NASCAR has banned drivers who made the 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup from competing in the championship race for Xfinity and trucks at Homestead.
NASCAR chairman Brian France, who made the announcement Tuesday as part of the preseason media days at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, said the sport wants its developmental drivers to feel the same pressures in trying to win a title in order to be prepared for it when they advance to the Cup.
In other news:
• France said that he is "very optimistic" that NASCAR and its team owners will finalize a new Sprint Cup team ownership structure to be implemented this season. He would not comment if that would mean 40-driver fields. The structure is designed to guarantee a certain amount of revenue to every team during a season, which would help with stability as well as possibly creating interest from investors looking into team ownership.
• NASCAR will experiment with a 20-minute "caution clock" in the Camping World Truck Series. If a green-flag run lasts 20 minutes, then the caution will come out. That would bunch the field as well as give teams an opportunity to work on their trucks under caution. The caution clock would be turned off with 20 laps remaining in all races except for Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and Pocono Raceway, where it will be turned off with 10 laps to go.