NASCAR released its format Wednesday for next month’s Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Among the highlights for the May 16 race:
- As previously reported by NASCAR Talk’s Dustin Long, the field will expand to include past champions and All-Star Race winners (not just from the last 10 years) as well as the race winners from the 2014-15 seasons.
- After much discussion about using a rules package planned for next year, the 2015 rules will be used in the event. Though the proposed changes for 2016 received strong reviews when applied during a test last month at Charlotte, teams expressed concern about the cost of using them in competition.
- The five-segment race will increase by 20 laps, with five laps added to each of the first four segments. The final segment will remain 10 laps, bringing the total to 110 laps.
Here’s the NASCAR release announcing the format changes:
Showcasing the sport’s top talent, NASCAR announced changes for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race that will elevate the excitement of this annual classic. Race coverage is set for 7 p.m. ET, Saturday, May 16 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (FOX Sports 1, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The field will include race winners from the 2014 and 2015 seasons, as well as all former NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winners and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions who are full-time competitors – all of whom will compete for the $1 million prize awarded to the winner. Prior to this change, former NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winners and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions were eligible only if they accomplished the feat within the previous 10 seasons.
In addition, the five-segment race will increase by a total of 20 laps, with the first four segments each scheduled for 25 laps as compared to 20 in recent years. With the final 10-lap shootout, the race now totals 110 laps.
“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 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race will have a minimum field 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 beginning at 7 p.m. ET, Friday, May 15 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM).
The final spot belongs to the Sprint Fan Vote winner; voting at www.NASCAR.com/sprintfanvote and the NASCAR MOBILE application closes at 7 p.m. ET on May 15. The winner of the Sprint Fan Vote will be announced in Victory Lane following the conclusion of the Sprint Showdown.
Drivers in the 2015 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race will compete in cars that conform to all 2015 rules. The race format will consist of a total of five segments: four 25-lap segments, with the average finish of the first four segments determining the order 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 a final winner-take-all 10-lap 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 eligible to compete in the 2015 NASCAR Sprint 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).
This will be the 31st running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. McMurray is the defending race winner.
Fans can catch all the action from the Sprint Showdown and North Carolina Education Lottery 200 on Friday night to All-Star qualifying and the biggest all-star event in sports, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, on Saturday with weekend packages starting at just $99. For just $20, fans can purchase a special Golden Ticket upgrade to secure a prime location with special early access to a reserved area directly in front of the stage for the Rayovac presents Little Big Town pre-race concert. A limited number of Golden Tickets are available and can be purchased online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267).