Could caution laps between stage breaks not count in 2018?

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A NASCAR executive said Monday that series officials will look at not counting caution laps between stage breaks for 2018.

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

Asked about how to make the stage breaks quicker, O’Donnell said: “Those caution laps, running just laps off, do they have to count? The break is put into place to allow for commercial breaks and to allow some of those green-flag breaks that we’ve seen in the past not to occur. So we want to look at how do we make this still a strategy and possibly not count those caution laps in the future. That would be for 2018 and see how it plays out throughout the year.’’

O’Donnell noted that officials considered not counting those laps this year with the introduction of stage racing.

“We debated that for a long time,’’ he told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The one reason we didn’t go that route was that we didn’t want to extend the races for a really long time and have the unknown fuel mileage if you continued not to count those (laps).

“It was kind of TV and everybody, the tracks, sitting together and saying, look for year one let’s go with the known and that’s how many laps we’ve got for this race and then if we need to adjust we can. That’s definitely something you put on the notes and say hey, let’s look at possible solutions for next year if we can.’’

A total of 97 laps have been run under caution between stage breaks this season. That’s out of 2,142 laps run, meaning 4.5 percent of all laps run this year have been run under caution for such breaks.

Here is the breakdown by track:

  • Daytona 500 had 11 of 200 laps (5.5 percent) run under caution between stages.
  • Atlanta had 13 of 325 laps (4.0 percent) run under caution between stages.
  • Las Vegas had 12 of 267 laps (4.5 percent) run under caution between stages.
  • Phoenix had 15 of 314 laps (4.8 percent) run under caution between stages.
  • Auto Club had 12 of 202 laps (5.9 percent) run under caution between stages.
  • Martinsville had 22 of 500 laps (4.4 percent) run under caution between stages.
  • Texas had 12 of 334 laps (3.6 percent) run under caution between stages.

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