2017 NASCAR All Star Race

The 2017 NASCAR season is nearly at the one third mark, which means that it is time for some All Star racing. The annual All Star race is held at Charlotte Motor Speedway and is open to 2016 and 2017 race winners, past All Star race winners, race champions, the winner of the open race run just before the main event, and one driver will earn a spot into the All Star race via the fan vote. Only current full time drivers are eligible to run in the All Star races.

1184px-All_raceBy Nascar1996 – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10481140

The All Star race is a non points race where the drivers race not only for the win…but to win the prize of $1 million.

Each week the drivers are used to having a speed limit when coming on and off of pit road…not this time. For the All Star race, qualifying included making a no speed limit pit stop along with three laps on the track.

On Friday evening the 16 drivers who have qualified to run in the All Star race ran two qualifying round of three laps plus a pit stop. Any driver missing the pit box on the pit stop had their time disqualified; any infraction – missing lug nuts, leaving with equipment crew over the wall too soon, etc cost a driver five seconds for each infraction.

It’s the Kyle and Kyle show on the front row with Kyle Larson taking the pole by 1/100th of a second over Kyle Busch.

The starting lineup for the 16 cars in the All Star race:
Kyle Larson
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick
Jimmie Johnson
Kurt Busch
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Brad Keselowski
Matt Kenseth
Denny Hanlin
Jamie McMurray
Chris Buescher
Joey Logano
Kasey Kahne
Martin Truex Jr
Ryan Newman
Ricky Stenhouse Jr

Four more starting spots will be filled by the three open winners and one driver chosen by the fans.

Kevin Harvick’s pit crew won the pit crew challenge for the quickest pit stop.

Prior to the Open Race on Saturday, the drivers running in the open will qualify for starting position.

Twenty four cars are vying for one of three spots that will transfer over to the All Star race. On a hot Saturday afternoon air temperatures are near 90 with the track temperature at 144 degrees.

Clint Bowyer wins the pole for the Open…and gives his boss Tony Stewart a nice birthday present.

The starting lineup for the Monster Energy Open is:
Clint Bowyer
Ryan Blaney
Chase Elliott
Austin Dillon
AJ Allmendnger
Daniel Suarez
Erik Jones
Ty Dillon
Danica Patrick
Paul Menard
Trevor Bayne
Landon Cassill
Regan Smith – substituting for Aric Almirola
Matt DeBenedetto
Corey LaJoie
Cole Whit
David Ragan
Gray Gaulding
Cody Ware
Carl Long
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Derrike Cope
Michael McDowell
Reed Sorenson

The Monster Energy Open is only 50 laps in length but it has been divided into three stages of 20, 20 and 10 green flag laps with the winner of each stage automatically becoming a part of the Monster Energy All Star race. However, NASCAR will check the lug nuts and if more than two of them are loose, the drive is disqualified.

Clint Bowyer brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and the drivers get four wide as Ryan Blaney and Clint Bowyer battle for the lead with Bowyer edging out for the lead of the race.

Lap four Clint Bowyer has a lead of over a second on second place driver Ryan Blaney.

Lap seven and Clint Bowyer maintains a lead of over a second on Ryan Blaney. Trevor Bayne and Danica Patrick are battling for ninth place and bottling up the trffic behind them.

Half way – lap 10 – and Clint Bowyer continues to lead the race by over a second and is approaching a second and a half lead on Ryan Blaney.

Trevor Bayne gets very loose and saves the car and keeping it off the wall after getting touched by Danica Patrick.

With seven laps remaining in the stage, Corey LaJoie takes his car to the garage.

Lap 15 Clint Bowyer has increased his lead to over two seconds on Ryan Blaney.

With only two laps to go in the stage, Clint Bowyer has pulled out to a lead of over three seconds.

Clint Bowyer wins stage one of the Monster Energy Open and will become the first of three drivers moving on to the Monster Energy All Star race. Bowyer will get a fresh set of tires to start the All Star race.

Clint_Bowyer_Coke_600_2011_(cropped) By Mike Kalasnik – http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5778579091/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28801875

After pit stops Ryan Blaney will bring the field down for the green flag start of stage two and edges out Chase Elliott for the lead.

On lap two Ryan Blaney already has a lead of half a second on second place driver Chase Elliott.

Halfway through stage two and Ryan Blaney has a lead of over half a second on Chase Elliott.

Eight laps to go and Ryan Blaney has increased his lead to nearly a second. AJ Allmendinger has a smoking tire and will have to come down pit road. The track stays green.

With six laps to go, Chase Elliott has caught up with lead Ryan Blaney, but Blaney maintains the lead.

Leading by nearly half a second, Ryan Blaney wins stage two and will move on to compete in the All Star race.

Ryan_Blaney_Road_America_2015(1)By Royalbroil – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42901129

Stage three is a 10 lap shoot out where only green flag laps count.

Landon Cassill and Daniel Suarez are on the front row to start stage three but right after the green flag waves Landon Cassill gets bumped by Chase Elliott and spins around bringing out the first caution flag of the race. Casill took only two tires during pit stops.

Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon sit on the front row for the restart of the race with Daniel Suarez edging out Austin Dillon for the lead.

Lap two Chase Elliott catches up to Daniel Suarez and challenges Suarez for the lead.

Five laps to go and Daniel Suarez holds on to the lead.

With four laps to go Chase Elliott passes Daniel Suarez for the lead. Erik Jones comes into play and gets into the grass bringing out the caution flag.

Once the track goes green, it will be a three lap shoot out to decide who will be the third Open driver to run in the All Star race.

Austin Dillon is reporting that his fuel light is blinking.

From the inside lane, Daniel Suarez brings the field down for the green flag restart of the race and pulls out in front of the field.

Chase Elliott and Austin Dillon battle for second.

Daniel Suarez wins stage three and moves on to the Monster Energy All Star race.

Daniel_Suarez_Road_America_2015By Royalbroil – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43117400

FOX broadcaster Jeff Gordon informs Chase Elliott via car radio that Chase won the fan vote and will be the final driver in the All Star race.

Chase_Elliott_Road_America_2015By Royalbroil – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42901125

The field is set for the 2017 Monster Energy All Star race:
The starting lineup for the 16 cars in the All Star race:
Kyle Larson
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick
Jimmie Johnson
Kurt Busch
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Brad Keselowski
Matt Kenseth
Denny Hanlin
Jamie McMurray
Chris Buescher
Joey Logano
Kasey Kahne
Martin Truex Jr
Ryan Newman
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Clint Bowyer
Ryan Blaney
Daniel Suarez
Chase Elliott

The Monster Energy All Star race is four stage race with the first three stages lasting 20 laps each and the final stage lasting only 0 green flag laps but with only the top 10 drivers competing in the race.

Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and pulls out in front for the lead.

The drivers are three and four wide through the field.

Lap six Kyle Larson has a lead of over a second on second place driver Kyle Busch.

Falling back, Martin Truex Jr reports that his car is shaking badly.

Lap 12 Kyle Larson continues to lead the race and has pulled out to a lead of nearly two seconds.

Falling back in the field, Dale Earnhardt is reporting some serious handling issues.

Lap 17 Kyle Larson has pulled out to a lead of over two seconds.

Kyle Larson wins stage one and has guaranteed himself a spot in the final 10 lap shootout.

Kyle_Larson_at_the_Daytona_500By Nascarking – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38678934

Kyle Larson wins the race off of pit road.

Matt Kenseth has some fluid in his pit stall and may have an issue with his car. Kenseth has taken his car to the garage.

Martin Truex has to restart the race at the back of the field after a crewman jumped over the wall too soon.

Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two with Kyle Busch alongside on the front row. Larson edges out in front of the field.

Lap four of stage two Kyle Larson has a lead of nearly a second on the field.

Lap 12 of stage two, Kyle Larson has pulled out to a lead over a second and a half on second place driver Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 14 Kyle Larson has increased his lead to over two seconds.

Only three laps remaining in stage two and Kyle Larson has a lead of over two and a half seconds on Jimmie Johnson.

Kyle Larson wins stage two.

1200px-Kyle_Larson_at_Thunder_Valley_(NSCS)By Nascarking – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42859986

After taking only two tires Clint Bowyer wins the race off of pit road. Ryan Blaney also took only two tires and will start on the front row.

Brad Keselowski had to come back down pit road with a loose lug nut.

Clint Bowyer brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three but Ryan Blaney pulls out in front for the lead of the race. Drivers are getting three wide across the track.

On lap three of stage three Jimmie Johnson passes Ryan Blaney to take over the lead of the race.

Lap seven Jimmie Johnson has a lead of over a second on sthe second place driver Kurt Busch.

Lap 13 Jimmie Johnson has a lead of just under half a second on second place driver Kevin Harvick.

With only three laps remaining in the stage Kevin Harvick is closing in on leader Jimmie Johnson.

Ryan Newman takes his car to the garage after making contact on the track.

Jimmie Johnson wins stage three.

Jimmie_Johnson_at_the_Daytona_500By Nascarking – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38677110

Using the average from the first three stages, NASCAR will now determine which 10 drivers will move on to compete in the 10 lap shootout of stage four for the $1 million prize.

The drivers competing in stage four…
Kyle Larson
Jimmie Johnson
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick
Kurt Busch
Jamie McMurray
Denny Hamlin
Brad Keselowski
Chase Elliott
Joey Logano

Only green flag laps will count for stage four.

Jimmie Johnson wins the race off of pit road, but Brad Keselowski stayed out and did not pit.

Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the green flag start of stage four but Kyle Busch comes busting through and takes over the lead of the race.

Seven to go and Kyle Busch is in the lead with Jimmie Johnson right behind him.

Denny Hamlin takes his car to pit road with a tire rub.

In the fastest laps all race, Kyle Busch holds on to the lead with stage three winner Jimmie Johnson right behind him, followed by Kyle Larson with five laps to go.

Three laps to go and Kyle Busch holds on to the lead of the race by a little over half a second.

Kyle Busch takes the white flag.

Kyle Busch finally has his first All Star race win…and his first win in a Cup Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Kyle has won several Camping World Truck and Xfinity Series races but has never won a Monster Energy Cup Series race until tonight.

Kyle_Busch_April_19,_2010_(square_crop)By Raniel Diaz – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ranieldiaz/4537844171/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47031783


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