Next to the Daytona 500, it’s one of the most anticipated races of the season – the annual All Star Race.
This year will mark 25 years of All Star racing under the lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the week before the longest race of the season – the Coca-Cola 600. The annual non points All Star race is on May 20 beginning at 6pm.
Honouring that first race back in 1992, the 2017 edition will be 70 laps in length with four stages – 20-20-20-10 – but not all of the drivers will be included in the last stage…only 10 cars will race for the big $1 million prize.
The drivers who win one of the first three stages and remains on the lead lap will advance to the 10 lap fourth stage shootout. The remainder of the field will be determined by their overall average ranking from the first three stages. For example if a driver finishes the first stage in second place, the second stage in twelfth place, and the third stage in tenth place; his ranking will be eighth in the 10 car field.
However, the running order can be changed by pit stops and which set of tires the teams choose to use. NASCAR is providing each team with a set of softer tires which will give them more grip and speed; but if the team chooses to use that softer set in the last segment, the driver starts the segment behind drivers on the regular tires. Also the order the drivers come off of pit road will ultimately determine the final running order.
Fans will be able to tell which teams are running the softer compound tires – the will have bright green lettering instead of the normal yellow letters.
NASCAR will set the All Star race field by one driver chosen by fan vote, the winners of one of the stages in the Open race that will be run prior to the All Star race itself, drivers who have won a championship, drivers who have won an All Star race in years past, and drivers who have won a points race in 2016 and 2017. So far 15 drivers qualify to race in the All Star race – Chris Buescher, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr.
Qualifying for the All Star race includes something that no other race has – a pit stop. As a part of race qualifying the teams must make a no pit road speed limit four time change during one of the three laps in qualifying.
The Open race carries a twist of its own…once a driver wins a stage, they do not have to continue in the race; they can sit out the rest of the race.
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