All-Star Race 101: New format, tire options, more

The 2024 NASCAR All-Star Race is upon us, which means a voyage back to the historic North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Twenty drivers will vie for the $1 million prize in Sunday night’s exhibition race (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). But with a new year of the All-Star event comes a new format with a unique addition — multiple tire compounds.

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Before teams hit the 0.625-mile oval that has been bathed in new asphalt since last year’s edition, dive into the details of this year’s All-Star Race:


The 2024 All-Star Race will be a 200-lap doozy around the tight confines of North Wilkesboro. The non-points event will feature breaks at Lap 100 and Lap 150, plus multiple tire options — more on that below.

The big show will be preceded by the All-Star Open race (Sunday, 5:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), where 20 drivers will compete for two transfer spots into the All-Star Race. The Open will be 100 laps long with a halfway break at Lap 50.

Seventeen drivers are locked into the main event Sunday night via points-race wins in either the 2023 or 2024 Cup seasons, past All-Star Race victories or Cup championships. Two spots on the starting grid will be filled by the top two finishers in the preliminary All-Star Open, with the final entry taken by the All-Star Fan Vote winner, awarded to the highest vote-getter who has not already raced his way into the show.

How the All-Star Race lineup is set: The 17 eligible drivers for the All-Star Race will be split into two 60-lap heat races to run Saturday evening (5:40 p.m. ET, FS2, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The result from Heat 1 will set the inside row of Sunday’s starting lineup, while results from Heat 2 will set the outside row of the starting grid. There is a halfway break scheduled for Lap 30 in each heat race.


How the lineup is set for the heat races: Friday night’s Pit Crew Challenge will determine the starting lineups for both the All-Star Open and Saturday’s heats.

One at a time, drivers will leave pit road and take the green flag to begin their time-trial session. Each driver will complete one circuit at speed before slowing to the pit-road speed limit and approaching the designated pit stall for a four-tire pit stop and mock fuel delivery. The driver will then return to the track and race back to the checkered flag to complete his time trial. Total elapsed time will determine the pole starter for both the All-Star Race and the first heat.

The Pit Crew Challenge will be judged from a pair of timing lines near the designated pit boxes — one pit stall before and one pit stall after. The team with the fastest penalty-free stop between the timing lines will be crowned as the Pit Crew Challenge winner, and the results will determine pit-stall selection order for the main event.

WATCH: NASCAR video highlights


Goodyear will provide three separate tire compounds to use for this weekend’s on-track action — a baseline “prime” tire, a softer “option” tire and wet-weather tires if Mother Nature necessitates the need.

The prime tire was developed through a March test session at the newly repaved facility and will be identifiable by Goodyear’s traditional yellow lettering on the sidewall. The option tire is composed of the same rubber compound as the treaded wet-weather tires but in a slick variation, designated by red Goodyear lettering — the tire is “softer” and should produce quicker speeds but will wear down more quickly. Strategy will be important.

Teams will have nine sets of tires for the weekend — five sets of primes and four sets of options. Teams will have three sets of primes and two sets of options for the preliminaries (practice, qualifying, heats, Open), and two sets each of primes and options for the main event.

Mismatching primes and options will not be permitted as teams must use all four tires of the same type at all times. Qualifying for both the All-Star Open and the All-Star Race will be conducted on prime tires.

Teams may select either tire type for the start of practice, heats and the Open.

How the tires are used: Starting the All-Star Race on option tires will be mandatory. Teams must also make a pit stop for four tires at the midpoint break of the qualifying heats, the Open and the All-Star Race.

A graphic displays the three different tire options Goodyear will bring for the 2024 NASCAR All-Star Race.


2000: Dale Earnhardt Jr. holds off Dale Jarrett, Dale Earnhardt for the win | WATCH

2007: Kevin Harvick brings home the trophy; Busch brothers collide in classic | WATCH

2009: Tony Stewart scores Stewart-Haas Racing’s first victory in a thriller | WATCH


(All times Eastern)

Friday, May 17

— 4 p.m.: Pit road qualifying entry/exit practice (FS1, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

— 4:35 p.m.: Practice (FS1, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

— 5:40 p.m.: All-Star Open qualifying (FS1, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

— 6:20 p.m.: All-Star Pit Crew Challenge qualifying (FS1, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Saturday, May 18

— 5:20 p.m.: All-Star Race Heat No. 1 (FS2, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

— 6:15 p.m.: All-Star Race Heat No. 2 (FS2, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, May 19

— 5:30 p.m.: All-Star Open (FS1, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

— 8 p.m.: All-Star Race (FS1, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

MORE: Full schedule for All-Star Race weekend