How Winston Cup Points Are Awarded
In addition to finishing order points, there are 10 extra bonus points that can be earned. Any driver who leads at least one lap earns 5 bonus points, and the driver that leads the most laps in the race earns an additional 5 points.
Provisional starts are awarded to regular Winston Cup drivers to aid them in qualifying for a race in case their qualifying speed is not fast enough to get them into the race. Each race has 4 provisionals available to car owners (not drivers) in the top 40 in points. For the first 4 races of the season, the top 40 is determined from the previous season's final point standings. Each of those teams starts the season with 4 available provisionals, and can earn 1 more every 8 races -- up to a maximum of 7 per year. In addition to the 4 standard provisional starting positions at each race, there is 1 champions provisional available. If a previous Winston Cup Champion doesn't make a race based on their time trial, this 5th provisional is added for the race. If 2 champions need this provisional then it is awarded to the most recent champion.