CONCORD, N.C. -- NASCAR's longest and most unique race of the season just got another twist.

NASCAR announced that the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be the first race to have a fourth stage since the addition of stage racing in NASCAR in 2017. Each of the four stages will be set at 100 laps in length.

The addition of a fourth stage means drivers will be competing for an extra playoff point, as well as the possibility of earning more championship driver points. Through 11 races, defending Coca-Cola 600 winner Martin Truex Jr. leads the Monster Energy Cup Series with 15 playoff points after his win at Kansas Speedway. Truex has won a series-leading five stages and has two race wins.

"For 58 years, the Coca-Cola 600 has been a crown jewel on the NASCAR circuit because it presents unique challenges that don't exist at any other race. The distance is greater, the test of endurance is greater. The challenge of adjusting to the track surface from hot to cool puts more pressure on crew chiefs and pit crews," said Marcus Smith, president and chief operating officer of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. "It's only fitting that teams have an opportunity to be rewarded for the extra effort required to win at the 600. An additional playoff point in May could be critical for playoff success in the fall."

Fourteen drivers have earned playoff points this season. Like past championship formats, a victory qualifies a driver and team for the NASCAR playoffs. Drivers that have qualified for NASCAR's playoffs thus far include Truex, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

"The stage racing format is delivering more dramatic moments over an entire race, fueling tremendous racing action this season," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "With a fourth stage added to the Coca-Cola 600, the historic event will have another layer of strategy for teams, and even more excitement within the race for fans."

Coca-Cola 600 tickets for adults start at just $49 while kids 13 and under get in for $10. Tickets, camping, and upgrades for every 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder event are available at the gates, by visiting or calling 1-800-455-FANS (3267).

The Performance Racing Network will carry live coverage of this year's Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte Motor Speedway, as well as the NASCAR Xfinity Series Hisense 4KTV 300 and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying from CMS. 

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