NASCAR Cup: All-Star Race format revealed
Joey Logano takes the checkered flag in the 2016 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 21, 2016 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
NASCAR announced the format for the 2017 Monster Energy All-Star Race during a press conference Tuesday. The All-Star Race is scheduled for May 20 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
This year’s All-Star Race will be broken up into three 20-lap segments and a final 10-lap segment. Only 10 drivers, though, will participate in the final 10-lap sprint to the finish. The leading driver at the end of each of the three 20-lap segments will get spots in the final segment, provided they’re on the lead lap at the end of the third 20-lap segment. The rest of the 10-car field for the final segment will be field based on drivers’ average finishes in the 20-lap segments. The race winner and his team will pocket $1,000,000.
The 10 cars remaining for the final segment will be lined-up for that final segment with previous segment winners up front, followed by those who advanced based on average finish, with those cars ordered by average finish. Drivers/teams, then, will have the option of pitting and will start the final segment based on their choice of pitting or not pitting and their order off pit road.
“The Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race is etched in the history of our sport for the most memorable moments, trend-setting innovation and big-money payouts,” Charlotte Motor Speedway President and General Manager Marcus Smith said. “This new 70-lap format pays tribute to the 25th anniversary of ‘One Hot Night’ (the first All-Star Race in 1992) while pushing the drivers to the brink of insanity with the chances they’ll take to win $1 million. I’m as ready as our fans for a May 20 Saturday night shootout where only a daredevil behind the wheel truly has a shot at victory lane.”
Tire compounds also will be a part of strategy. Each team will have standard sets of Goodyear tires for CMS and a single set of softer tires that will provide more grip. Teams will have an option of when to use the softer tires, but teams that opt to put the softer tires on their cars to start the final segment will have to start in the back.
“The Monster Energy All-Star Race is designed to be fun for fans, showcasing the best drivers and race teams in NASCAR,” NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officers Steve O’Donnell said. “With the effort that Goodyear has put into this race with multiple tire compounds, I am excited to see how the stages play out, especially the final 10-car, 10-lap sprint to the checkered flag.”
Qualifying for the race will be May 19. The qualifying format will be a three-lap run, including a four-tire pit stop. There will be no speed limit on pit road. There will be two rounds of qualifying, with the fastest five from the first round advancing to the second round to compete for the top-five spots on the starting grid. Also, the team that pulls-off the fastest pit stop during qualifying will be recognized with a Pit Crew Competition Award.
Drivers who won Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races last season or up to the date of the All-Star Race this year, past series champions and past winners of the All-Star Race, provided they still compete full-time in the Cup Series. Other drivers will have final shots to get into the All-Star Race through the Monster Energy Open earlier in the evening. Segment winners in that three-stage race will advance to the All-Star Race, as will the winner of an online fan vote on NASCAR.com
The Monster Energy Open will be a 50-lap race divided into two 20-lap segments and a 10-lap segment. In recent years, the Open was held the prior evening to the All-Star race, but for 2017, it returns to the same evening as the main event.