NASCAR alters stage lengths for Indianapolis XFINITY race

Robert Laberge/Getty Images

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

The NASCAR XFINITY Series is making a minor alteration to their race format at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

NASCAR officials confirmed Thursday that the stage lengths for the July 22 Lilly Diabetes 250 at the 2.5-mile ‘Brickyard’ have been given a slight adjustment.

Like all XFINITY Series races, the 100-lap race will consist of three stages. However, while the race was originally slated to end Stages 1 and 2 on laps 25 and 50, they will now conclude on laps 30 and 60 – an addition of five laps to each stage.

With the changes, the race will include two 30-lap stages, with a 40-lap final stage.

The stage-length change comes three months after an announcement that the XFINITY Series will utilize 7/8-in. restrictor plates, a taller spoiler and rear splitter package, and aero ducts in their trip to Indianapolis.

“Following the previously announced updates to the competition package for the NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Indianapolis, NASCAR will issue a rule book bulletin that updates the stage lengths for the race,” NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller said in a statement. “As we have with every race, we worked with teams on expected fuel and tire runs for the event, and have determined that stages ending on Lap 30, Lap 60 and Lap 100 will provide the best race for fans.”

The 2017 trip to Indianapolis won’t be the first to see segmented races for the XFINITY Series on the famed oval. The 2016 edition of the race was one of the tour’s four Dash 4 Cash (D4C) races, which split the field in half and ran two heat races to set the order and determine D4C contenders before running a full-field final stint.

Kyle Busch won that race in dominant fashion, leading 62 of the 63 laps in the final stint and holding off Kevin Harvick after a late caution to score the triumph. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver went on the complete the weekend sweep with a win in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, his most recent win in the series.

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