All-Star Race Format Unveiled
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on April 11, 2017 | 3:24 P.M. EST
The 2017 Monster Energy All-Star Race will feature a mix of old and new. (Credit: NASCAR)
The 2017 Monster Energy All-Star Race will feature a mix of old and new.
This year’s event will take place on May 20 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In a tribute to the famed 1992 race billed as "One Hot Night," which was held under the lights for the first time, the distance will be trimmed to 70 laps.
Four segments will comprise the total distance with a 20-20-20-10 format. Additional details announced during a Tuesday press conference include:
- 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.
- Those cars will be lined up by average finish of the first three stages and teams will be given the option to pit. Exit off pit road determines the starting order for the final stage.
- The winner will be awarded $1 million.
But there is a new wrinkle that will create interesting strategy among crew chiefs and teams. Each team will have one set of "optional" tires available to use at their discretion. It's a softer tire which provides the car with more grip and, thus, speed. In other words, it's a game-changer.
But there's a catch: Teams that choose to put on their softer tires to start the final stage must start behind those that choose regular tires.
"With the effort that Goodyear has put into this race, with multiple tire compounds, I'm excited to see how the stages play out, especially the final 10-car, 10-lap sprint," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer.
"The 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 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."
Qualifying for the main event returns to Friday night and will again include the "no-speed-limit" four-tire pit stop. Each team will have three timed laps, one of which will include a mandatory four-tire pit stop with no pit-road speed limit enforced. The five quickest teams will advance to the final round of qualifying to determine starting positions one through five. The team that completes the fastest stop will earn the Pit Crew Competition Award.
The Monster Energy Open will be run Saturday evening prior to the Monster Energy All-Star Race and will include three stages of 20, 20 and 10 laps. The winner of each stage will earn a spot in the All-Star Race. The Monster Energy Open field will be set by two rounds of regular knock-out qualifying.
Those eligible for the Monster Energy All-Star Race include drivers who won a points race in either 2016 or 2017, drivers who have won an All-Star Race and still compete full-time, and drivers who won a Cup Series championship and are competing full-time. Those who have not already earned a spot via the above criteria can still lock in by winning a stage in the Monster Energy Open or by winning the fan vote.
Drivers who have already clinched an All-Star spot are: 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.
Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" - will have live coverage of the Monster Energy All-Star Race on Saturday, May 20, beginning at 5 p.m. (ET) - with live streaming at MRN.com and on the MRN App.