NASCAR All-Star Race format announced as tribute to ‘One Hot Night’
NASCAR is going old-school for the 2017 Monster Energy All-Star Race, which takes place May 20 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The race distance will be trimmed to 70 laps, a tribute to “One Hot Night,” the famous 1992 all-star race that was the first to be run under the lights at CMS.
In that race, Davey Allison outdueled Kyle Petty and Dale Earnhardt on the final lap, only to hit the wall after contact with Petty. As a result, Allison had to be taken to the hospital while his Robert Yates Racing crew — including crew chief Larry McReynolds — celebrated in Victory Lane.
Now, 25 years after that famous race, here’s the formal for this year’s battle.
• 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 the starting order for the final stage.
• The winner will be awarded $1,000,000.
And there’s a strategy twist, too: Each team will have one set of softer tires available to use at their discretion. A softer tire 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.
Qualifying for the main event will be on 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 limits 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 occur Saturday evening prior to the Monster Energy All-Star Race and will include three stages (20 laps / 20 Laps / 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 traditional knock-out qualifying.
Those eligible for the Monster Energy All-Star Race include: drivers who won a points event in either 2016 or 2017; drivers who won a Monster Energy All-Star Race and compete full-time; and drivers who won a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship and compete 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: 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.
The Monster Energy All-Star Race and Monster Energy Open will air live on FS1 starting at 6 p.m. ET.