NASCAR announces changes to Sprint All-Star Race format
The 2015 Sprint All-Star Race will feature 20 more laps than last year’s event and for the first time include all former all-star race winners and Sprint Cup Series champions who are full-time active drivers — not just those from the past 10 years.
NASCAR announced the changes on Wednesday morning.
"These updates were made to ensure that our fans have every opportunity to see the best drivers in one of our crown jewel events and give them even more on-track action," said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "Expanding this field and adding laps delivers that to our fans, raising the competition level and ensuring that this race continues to be the biggest all-star event in all of sports."
The 2015 Sprint All-Star Race — which will air live on FOX Sports 1 at 7 p.m. ET on May 16 — will include race winners from the 2014 and 2015 seasons in addition to the former series champions and all-star race winners.
The first four segments of the five-segment race will include 25 laps, compared to 20 in recent years. The fifth and final segment, which pays $1 million to win, remains at 10 laps.
The field will have a minimum of 20 drivers. There are currently 17 drivers eligible, with three additional spots available. Two of those are reserved for the segment winners from the two 20-lap Sprint Showdown segments. The final spot belongs to the Sprint Fan Vote winner, whose identity will be revealed in Victory Lane following the conclusion of the Sprint Showdown.
Drivers in the all-star race will compete in cars that conform to all 2015 rules. Drivers’ average finish from first four segments determine the order the cars will enter pit road for a mandatory four-tire pit stop following the fourth segment. Running order ties will be broken by the finish of the fourth segment. The order of the cars returning to the track following the mandatory pit stop determines the starting order for the final winner-take-all segment.
All laps will count in segments one through four. In the fifth and final segment, only green flag laps will be counted. There will be optional pit stops during the breaks following each of the first three segments, with the field set by the pit stop/stay out positioning during the five caution laps.
The following drivers are currently eligible to compete in this year’s 31st running of the all-star race: AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth (2004 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winner), Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray (2014 winner), Ryan Newman (2002 winner), Tony Stewart (2009 winner).