The Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway rolls off Saturday night, with coverage starting at 6 p.m. on FS1.
A total of 20 drivers will start the all-star race, which pays $1 million to win but doesn’t pay any points. There are several ways drivers can qualify for NASCAR’s big event: Win a points race in 2016 or 2017; be a past all-star race winner or series champion who competes full-time; be one of three stage winners in the Monster Energy Open or be the one Fan Vote winner.
Sixteen drivers already are locked into the all-star field with the final four to be determined during the Monster Energy Open. Here are the 16 who are locked in already.
Buescher’s upset victory at Pocono Raceway earned him a slot in Saturday night’s race.
The elder Busch is good by any measure: He’s a past Cup champion (2004), a past all-star winner (2010) and he won the 2017 Daytona 500.
The 2015 Cup champion has never won this race, which is kind of surprising given how many races he’s won over his career.
Charlotte Motor Speedway has always been a great track for Kahne, who won this event in 2008 thanks to winning the Fan Vote to transfer into the all-star race from the preliminary heat.
Back in 2004 when he drove for Jack Roush, Kenseth won the all-star race. In fact, his victory here came the year after he won his only championship.
, LAT Images www.latphoto.co.ukNigel Kinrade
At virtually every race this season, Keselowski has had fast cars. So far, he’s finished first or second in five of the first 11 races of the season. And even without the wins, he’d be in by virtue of being the 2012 series champion.
, LAT Images www.latphoto.co.ukMatthew T. Thacker
The current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points leader won the Open last year and was battling for the all-star win when he hit the wall in the closing laps.
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The defending race winner, Logano will doubtlessly have a fast Team Penske Ford on Saturday night, especially given how fast his cars have been this year.
The last Cup race McMurray won was the 2014 all-star race, and his Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolets have much more speed in them this year.
When he broke a 127-race winless streak by claiming victory at Phoenix earlier this year, Newman made himself eligible for this race.
Martin Truex Jr.
Given that Truex led 392 of 400 laps to win the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte last year and the fact that he’s won twice at 1.5-mile tracks already this season, he has to be considered one of the favorites going on.
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Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
That recent Talladega victory was important beyond just the fact that it was Stenhouse’s first Cup win. It also made him eligible for the all-star race.