There will be a fifth segment added to this year’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, and if one driver wins all five segments, he or she will win a $1 million bonus in addition to the $1 million race purse.
The All-Star event takes place Saturday, May 18, at 7:30 p.m. at Charlotte Motor Speedway, with live television coverage from SPEED.
Per NASCAR, the first four segments will be 20 laps each. After the completion of the fourth segment (Lap 80), the field will be re-ordered based on the average finish for the first four segments. The cars will line up directly behind the caution car prior to the opening of pit road for the mandatory four-tire pit stop. The order of the cars returning to the track will determine the starting order of the fifth segment. Running order ties will be broken by the finish of the fourth segment.
This revision puts a premium on making all of the laps count leading up to the final 10-lap shootout with the race winner earning a $1 million pay day from Sprint.
“Obviously changing the finish to where it’s off of average finishes instead of just segment winners or whatever it was there before — I think it’s just a little bit different,” said reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski. “A small improvement, for sure, with the extra bonus of being able to run for an extra million. That never hurts. It’s definitely an enhancement to the race.”
Keselowski admitted that winning all five segments would be a difficult challenge.
“The chances are obviously very low to pick up the extra million, but that’s what makes it special,” Keselowski said. “If it was easy to do, it wouldn’t be special.”
“Having the average finish through the race’s first four segments determine how the cars come down pit road for the last mandatory four-tire pit stop takes the competition to an even higher level,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR Vice President of Competition. “The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race is truly a showcase event for our sport and this format should bring out the best in our drivers and our teams.”
All laps will count in segments one through four. In the fifth and final segment, only green flag laps will count. There will be optional pit stops during the break following each of the first three segments, with the field set by the pit stop/stay out positioning during the five caution laps.
“The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race is the highlight of our season,” said Tim Considine, director of sponsorship marketing for Sprint. “These added elements help continue the tradition of this being one of the most unique and compelling races on the NASCAR Sprint Cup calendar.”
The eligibility criteria for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race remain the same:
• Drivers who have won NASCAR Sprint Cup races in the current and preceding year. If a driver leaves a team with which he has won a race, he or she remains eligible (through the last race before the all-star race), although the team does not.
• Drivers who are past NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winners in the past 10 years.
• Drivers who are past NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions in the past 10 years.
• The top two finishers in the Sprint Showdown, the 40-lap race that precedes the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
• The top Sprint Fan Vote driver who finishes on the lead lap of the Showdown and whose car is in “raceable” condition as determined by the series director.
The 2013 Sprint Fan Vote runs from March 20-May 18. Fans may vote by using the NASCAR Mobile’13 application or online at NASCAR.com. Votes cast from the NASCAR Mobile ’13 application count double.
This will be the 29th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Five-time series champion and reigning Daytona 500 champion Jimmie Johnson won last year’s race.
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100.
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