I know we're not that far into the season, but the more I see of the stage racing, the more I like it.  As the teams are beginning to see the importance of the stage points and the playoff point you can earn by winning a stage, we're beginning to see some different strategies play out.

At Texas, for instance, we saw both Ryan Blaney and William Byron stay out during cautions just a few laps before the end of stages, opting to go for the stage wins and playoff point.  It certainly added intrigue to a point of the race that, in the past, would have just been business as usual.  How Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. nudging Kyle Busch at Martinsville to stay on the lead lap; would they have made the same call had it not been for stage racing?

And, while you won't always see increased intensity at the very front towards the end of stages, you may very well see it in those spots around 8-12.  Teams now know the value of that extra point or two and are telling the drivers to get up on the wheel as the end of stages approach.