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The ENTIRE 2025 NASCAR $1 Million Tournament Explained

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What’s Happening?

In 2025, NASCAR will try something different by incorporating an in-season tournament. Here is how the entire format works.

  • The NASCAR In-Season Tournament will happen during the summer stretch on the 2025 schedule. It will incorporate both of NASCAR’s new media rights partners, TNT (Warner Bros. Discovery) and Amazon Prime.
  • In-season tournaments are not new in sports. The NBA, which TNT broadcasts, hosted its first in-season tournament this season. International soccer leagues also have in-season tournaments such as the UEFA Champions League or the F.A. Cup (England) that teams participate in outside their normal, league schedule.
  • Fans are very intrigued by this news. They are excited to see how the new tournament works, and whether or not it improves the racing product in the Cup Series.

How it Works

Eric Estepp broke the NASCAR announcement down in his most recent video. The format will work as follows.

When is the Tournament?

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The tournament will be held over the course of 8 races during the summer of 2025. The final 3 races of the Amazon Prime portion of the schedule will host the qualifying rounds that determine the seeding in the tournament. The 5 races broadcast on TNT will broadcast the actual tournament races, with Bob Pockrass reporting that Atlanta could be the track to open the tournament.

Who is in the Tournament?

A total of 32 drivers will qualify for this in-season tournament. According to NASCAR, any drivers who participate in the qualifying events are eligible for the in-season tournament, not just the chartered teams. The top 32 drivers with the best finishing positions in those races will qualify for the tournament, with tiebreakers being the next best finishes, then points position.

How Does the Bracket Work?

Each driver will be seeded 1-32 based on their finishing positions in the qualifying races. Based on the seedings, drivers will race head-to-head against each other in the first race of the tournament, and the driver who finishes the best of that pairing moves on. This continues for the next races as the field is whittled down from 32, to 16, to 8, to 4, and, eventually, down to 2. The driver who finishes the best out of that head-to-head in the final race of the tournament wins the $1 million prize.

How Does This Fit Within the Regular Season?

This tournament will function as a “Race within the race”. Every race within the tournament will count towards the season the same as a normal, regular season race for drivers both in and out of the tournament. This is similar to the NBA In-Season Tournament, where the games in the tournament also count towards the regular season standings.

NASCAR is trying something completely new with the in-season tournament. Time will tell how fans and drivers feel about the new tournament.

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