HICKORY, N.C. – Hickory Motor Speedway officials have announced plans to utilize a playoff format to crown the track’s late model stock car track champion beginning next year.
The track will host 18 race weekends for the late model stock car class next year, down from 21 this year. The regular season will consist of 13 races, with a four-race playoff used to determine the track champion.
“We need to be sensitive to the needs of all competitors,” said Hickory Motor Speedway General Manager Kevin Piercy. “Racing is a family sport, but we all need time to spend with our families off track and recharge for the next event.”
Drivers will be required to compete in at least eight of the 13 regular season races in order to qualify for the playoffs. There will be no limit to the number of drivers in the four-race playoffs as long as they have competed in at least eight of the 13 regular season races.
Rainouts will not offset the number of events races required to make the playoffs.
The regular season champion will be determined by the total number of points scored in the first 13 races, with the regular season champion earning a $1,000 bonus.
Reseeding will be based on regular season points, with bonus points added for drivers who score poles and wins. A regular season win will result in a two point bonus, with poles earning drivers a one point bonus.
The regular season champion will start with 100 points plus any bonus points, with second starting with 95 points plus bonuses. Third will start with 90 points plus bonuses, fourth will start with 85 points plus bonuses and fifth will start with 80 points plus bonuses.
Drivers sixth and deeper in the standings will start with 75 points plus whatever bonus points they have accumulated. Drivers will accumulate points during the four-race playoff using the same points format, plus bonus points, used during the regular season.
The track champion at the conclusion of the season will earn $2,000, with second taking home $1,000 and third earning $500.
The change to the weekly championship format at Hickory Motor Speedway will not change NASCAR’s National and State championship system.
“We look forward to 2022 and believe that this program will make it possible for multiple late model teams to challenge for the championship in 2022,” Piercy said.
The shift to a playoff format at Hickory comes after rookie Josh Kossek captured the track championship this year despite not competing in the final four nights of racing at the three-eighths-mile paved oval.
Running his last race at Hickory Aug. 21, Kossek won the track championship by 364 points ahead of Ryan Millington. He won four races en route to his first late model stock car track championship at the track.
Previous track champions at the track have included some of NASCAR’s greatest stars, including Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson, Harry Gant and Jack Ingram.