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New All Star Race format announced ahead of first race under Monster Energy
- Updated: April 11, 2017
By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor
25 years removed from “One Hot Night”, the first NASCAR race under the lights at a large speedway, the All Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) is set for another set of changes.
NASCAR and CMS collectively announced an all-new format for the 2017 Monster Energy All Star Race in a Tuesday press release.
Per the release, the new format is as follows:
- The race will feature four stages (20 laps / 20 laps / 20 laps / 10 laps), totaling 70 laps, an ode to the 1992 edition of the same distance.
- The goal for all competitors: Earn a spot in the final 10-lap, 10-car stage.
- The winner of each of the first three stages will lock up a spot in the final stage, as long as they remain on the lead lap after the third stage.
- The cars with the best average finish in the first three stages will make up the remaining spots needed to fill the 10-car final stage.
- The remaining 10 cars will be lined up by average finish of the first three stages and given the option to pit. Exit off pit road determines starting order for final stage.
- The winner will be awarded $1,000,000.
The most interesting change associated with the race isn’t anything mandatorily required for the teams, but something optional – a new strategy involving a softer tire.
Each team that participates in the All Star Race will be provided a set of softer compound tires, which will give the cars additional grip and, therefore, greater speed on-track. However, the reward of softer tires comes with a risk: teams that elect to use them in the final stage will be required to restart behind teams that put on regular tires.
Qualifying for the race will again be based on speeds from Friday’s three-lap qualifying session that includes a trip down pit road, which will have no speed limit for the session, for a four-tire pit stop. Drivers who aren’t clinched into the main event will have an opportunity to qualify in the Monster Energy Open, a qualifying races that includes three stages (20 laps / 20 laps / 10 laps). The winners of each stage will advance, with an additional spot given to a drive voted in by the fans.
The combined weekend promises a balance of the familiar all star festivities known from longtime fans and new format changes meant to spice the weekend up as it ushers in the Monster Energy era.
“The Monster Energy All-Star Race is designed to be fun for fans, showcasing the best drivers and race teams in NASCAR,” Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer said in a release. “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.”
“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,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. “This new 70-lap format pays tribute to the 25th anniversary of ‘One Hot Night’ 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.”
The Monster Energy All Star Race is slated for May 20.
Drivers already secured into the event include: 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.