Change is nothing new in the NASCAR landscape, especially if you are considering the annual All-Star race. Every year the sanctioning body, incongruence with the racetrack, have been able to muster up a rash of ever-changing format ideas in order to try to enhance the drama and intensity of one of NASCAR’s most exciting nights.
In what should come as a shock to no one – they’ve done it again.
On Tuesday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the format for the 2017 Monster Energy All-Star race was laid out.
Here’s how it will go:
– 70 lap event featuring four stages (20, 20, 20, 10)
– Only 10 cars make it into the final 10-lap dash.
– Winners of the first 3 stages automatically advance to the final round if they stay on the lead lap at the conclusion of the third stage.
– The remaining spots will be filled up with the drivers with the best average finish in the first 3 stages.
– The final 10 will be lined up in order of best average finish before being given the option to pit before the final 10-lap dash. (Race off pit road determines the lineup for the final stage).
– Added bonus: Each team competing in the All-Star race will be given one set of “softer tires”, which allow more speed and grip than a normal set. Yellow tires = normal, green tires = softer. The teams can use the green set at any time, but if they are used for the final stage that driver must lineup at the back of the 10-car field.
– The Monster Energy Open, previously known as the Sprint Showdown, will move back to Saturday before the All-Star race.
– The Open will feature three stages (20, 20, 10), with the winner of each advancing to the All-Star race.
– Qualifying for the All-Star race moves back to Friday night (tradional format including a pit stop)
This All-Star format is very similar to the one used during the 1992 event, the first All-Star race that was run under the lights. Previous All-Star events have been very detailed, leaving fans confused and upset because it was difficult to fully comprehend what was going on. Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway, believes this year’s format is simpler and more understandable for the fans.
“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 Smith. “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.”
Drivers who are eligible for the All-Star race include:
– Those who have won a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in 2016 or 2017.
– Those who have won previous All-Star races and still compete full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
– Those who have won a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship and still compete full-time in the series.
– Winners of the Monster Energy Open and the Fan Vote winner.
“The Monster Energy All-Star Race is designed to be fun for fans, showcasing the best drivers and race teams in NASCAR,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “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 2017 Monster Energy All-Star race is set to take place on Saturday May 20th. Tickets start at just $39 for adults, and kids 13 and under can get in for just $10.
NASCAR and Monster Energy have done their part in adding some hype and excitement to the All-Star race, now it’s time to wait and see how it will all play out as the drivers battle it out for $1 million.