A rule change for the Sprint All-Star Race will allow Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman to compete in the event, NASCAR confirmed to NASCAR Talk on Thursday.
NASCAR stated that it changed the eligibility requirements so that any full-time driver who is a former Cup champion or former All-Star winner is eligible for the non-points event. Previously, a driver had to have won a Cup title within the past 10 years or won the All-Star event within the past 10 years to be eligible.
Eliminating the limit on when a driver won a Cup title or the All-Star race is important for Kenseth and Newman. Neither driver meets the criterial of a race win either this year or the preceding year to be eligible. Both were winless last year and have not won this year.
Kenseth’s title came in 2003. Newman’s All-Star win came in 2002.
Drivers who have won a race this year or last season are also eligible for the All-Star race. That rule remains the same. The winner from the Sprint Showdown and runner-up from that race again advances to the All-Star race, along with the Sprint Fan Vote winner.
The format for the Sprint All-Star Race, to be held May 16 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, will be announced in the coming weeks, a NASCAR official stated.
Those eligible for the All-Star race heading into Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway are:
Dale Earnhardt Jr.