NASCAR Cup Series teams are racing for a million dollars rather than points this Sunday at the All-Star Race. For the first time in history, the event is at Texas Motor Speedway.
The race — typically held at Charlotte — will serve as the sendoff event for Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage, who is set to step down from his role after more than 25 years with the speedway at the end of the month.
“As a promoter, you always want to have an exclamation point at the end,” Gossage told the Observer.
NASCAR is promising to provide a show, complete with a new race format that will feature six rounds, totaling 100 laps, that include lineup inverts and random draws to determine the starting order for the rounds. Back-to-back defending race winner Kyle Larson won the random draw to start on the pole for Sunday’s race. Kyle Busch will also start in the front row in second.
Those drivers are among the 17 who have earned their spot in the lineup; Eligible drivers must be a race winner from this season or this season; an All-Star Race winner and competing full-time; or a Cup champion and competing full-time. Four additional drivers will make the lineup following the All-Star Open by winning any stage or by being the Fan Vote Winner.
Tyler Reddick is starting on the pole along with Chris Buescher in the front row for the All-Star Open race based on points. The All-Star Open is at 6 p.m. followed by the All-Star Race at 8 p.m. on FS1.
Here’s how it will work
Rounds 1-4 of the All-Star Race are 15 laps each with the starting lineup determined via random draw. After the first round, the field will be inverted via a random draw again, then it will be inverted for the next round (not by draw), then inverted via a random draw at the beginning of Round 4.
Round 5 will be 30 laps and the starting order will be determined by cumulative finish from the first four rounds with the lowest finisher starting on the pole, the second-lowest starting second, onward. (All cars must enter pit road for a mandatory four-tire pit stop during Round 5 with the fastest team on pit road winning $100,000.)
The final round will be a 10-lap shootout with the starting position determined by the finishing positions of Round 5.
That’s a lot to remember, but the FS1 broadcast plans to walk viewers through each round. Do drivers know the format, though?
“Not really,” Larson said. “But it’s just like any format; The more you run up front, the better you’re gonna position yourself for the final round.”
Drivers will likely rely more on their teams and crew chiefs to relay information over their radio about where to start in each round. Larson indicated it’s not a concern.
“We’re racecar drivers,” he said. “We try to race hard and pass people, and if you can pass people and move your way to the front, you’ll set yourself up for that last stage.”
Predictions for NASCAR All-Star Race
Larson is the favorite to win the million dollars, according to BetMGM odds. He’s at +300 odds, followed by Martin Truex Jr. (+700) and Chase Elliott (+700), along with Kyle Busch (+800). Given Larson’s dominance on 1.5-mile tracks this year, his starting position on the pole and back-to-back all-stage sweeps in the last two races, my pick to win the All-Star Race won’t come as a surprise: Larson will make it three in a row.
How and when to watch and listen
Race: NASCAR All-Star Race
When: Sunday, June 13
When: Open at 6 p.m., Race at 8 p.m.
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: Six rounds: Rounds 1-4 are 15 laps; Round 5 is 30 laps; Round 6 is a 10-lap shootout
Starting lineup for All-Star Race
|10||Martin Truex Jr.||19|
Winner Open Round 1
Winner Open Round 2
Winner Open Round Final Round
Starting lineup for All-Star Open
|4||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47|