Monster Energy Open

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Being in Open was key for four drivers who transferred into All-Star Race

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Saturday night showed the significance of how competing in the Monster Energy Open can pay big dividends in the NASCAR All-Star Race.

All four drivers who transferred from the Open – stage winners William Byron, Bubba Wallace and race winner Kyle Larson, along with fan vote winner Alex Bowman – showed their mettle by finishing in the top 10 of the All-Star Race, led by Larson, who took the checkered flag.

“I always think if there’s one positive to being in the B Main (the Open), it’s that you get that extra track time,” Larson said. “I feel like in the first few laps, those guys that are in the B main can be really aggressive because they know the limits of the race car and stuff.

“So you can see the four of us or whatever kind of be really aggressive and get to the mid-pack pretty quickly. And then everybody kind of figures it out after that. But there’s a slight advantage for the first 10, 15 laps, I think, of being in that race.”

It was the second time that Larson has won the Open – he also took the checkered flag in 2016 – and transferred into the All-Star Race.

Added Larson’s crew chief, Chad Johnston: I felt like when you run the Open, you kind of have an advantage — especially with the first 30-lap run of being on track, knowing what to expect, being able to adjust on your car. Where the guys that are in the All-Star Race don’t have that. So it’s a good time to take advantage of that information and being able to gain some of the track position back pretty quickly.”

Perhaps the most emotional moment of the Open came afterward when Stage 2 winner Wallace cried in joy of putting himself and the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet into the main event.

“It’s been hard, been really hard,” Wallace said of his season to date. “I was trying to hold them (tears) back and telling yourself you can’t do it anymore is tough. To give up and whatnot.

“I gave up the first Stage win and I didn’t say anything on the radio. But my parents and everyone that has always helped me always said, when I am pissed off I drive better. So, I did everything I could. I told myself to quit, and don’t even try again for the second Stage.

“My mental game is really shot right now, but damn it feels good to win something. I have failed at a lot of things in life recently, but I am working to make those things better.”

Wallace would go on to finish fifth in his first career appearance in the All-Star Race.

“I had tons of fun tonight,” Wallace said. “I honestly haven’t had this much fun in a long time. It’s been a struggle, but it was a big night for us. When you don’t have anything on the line, I guess it means something different.

“The first thing my mom said to me after the Open was ‘You know who that was? That was God. He’s not giving up on you yet’. I’ve realized that. As many dark moments that I’ve had and telling myself to give up, it’s been really tough. It’s been tough to keep coming in and keep going. Tonight just shows that I’ll be back next week.”

As for Hendrick Motorsports teammates Byron, who won the first stage of the Open, and fan vote winner Bowman, the preliminary race helped in finishing eighth and ninth, respectively, in the All-Star Race.

“It was just amazing, it feels awesome to be in the All-Star Race,” Byron said of his first appearance in the event. “I’ve been coming to this race since I was about five or six years old. It’s really exciting to be a part of it. It was huge, we needed this. We’ve had some really good qualifying efforts this year; we just needed to finish it off with something positive and this was definitely positive for us. I’m excited for it.”

Said Bowman: “You want to race your way in, and we did that last year and had a car very capable of doing that this year. Restarts didn’t go our way, and it is what it is.”

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Results from NASCAR All-Star Race

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Even though Kyle Larson hasn’t won a points-paying race since 2017, Saturday night may have been the biggest night of his NASCAR Cup career.

Not only did Larson win the Monster Energy Open at Charlotte Motor Speedway earlier in the evening to transfer into the NASCAR All-Star Race, he rallied to win the main event, making it a perfect two-for-two evening for the Chip Ganassi Racing driver.

And in the process, Larson took home the biggest payday of his entire racing career, a cool $1 million dollars.

While Larson does not receive credit for the NASCAR Cup playoffs or the Cup standings with the pair of exhibition race wins, his achievements Saturday could go a long way towards giving him momentum heading into next Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.

Click here for full race results.

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Monster Energy Open: Larson, Wallace, Byron, Bowman advance to All-Star Race

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MONSTER ENERGY OPEN UPDATE — CONCLUSION OF RACE:

Kyle Larson dominated the final stage of the Monster Energy Open to advance to tonight’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“I had to be patient,” Larson told Fox Sports 1. “I knew I had a really good car so I didn’t want to put myself in a bad spot and get damage like other guys did in the segments.

“Hopefully, we can give ourselves a good shot and clean up our act in the next hour or so (when the All-Star Race begins).

Click here for full race results.

Larson joins Stage 2 winner Bubba Wallace and Stage 1 winner William Byron in transferring into the All-Star Race. A fourth driver, Alex Bowman, also advances to the All-Star Race by virtue of winning the Fan Vote.

Larson briefly had a challenge by Ty Dillon in the 10-lap final stage, but then pulled away and won uncontested.

Dillon finished second, followed by Bowman, Matt DiBenedetto, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Preece, Paul Menard, David Ragan, Corey LaJoie and Michael McDowell.

The All-Star Race is slated to begin shortly after 8 p.m. ET.

MONSTER ENERGY OPEN UPDATE — END OF STAGE TWO:

Bubba Wallace held off a late charge by Daniel Suarez — sending the latter spinning after colliding — and Kyle Larsen in Stage 2 of the Monster Energy Open to advance to the NASCAR All-Star Race later tonight at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Wallace joins Stage 1 winner William Byron in advancing to the All-Star Race. One final stage remains in the Open.

“This has been tough and I’ve been feeling like a failure for a really long time, I didn’t give a damn out there,” Wallace told Fox Sports 1. “I love Suarez to death but he knows what’s on the line. … We needed this. I needed this.”

Like Stage 1, the scheduled 20-lap Stage 2 went into overtime. Ryan Preece and pole-sitter Daniel Hemric collided with two laps remaining, bringing out the caution.

Stage 2 ultimately went 25 total laps, including five laps of overtime. Kyle Larson finished second, followed by Suarez, Ty Dillon and David Ragan.

Sixth through 10th were Matt DiBenedetto, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Preece, Corey LaJoie and Alex Bowman

One final stage — a 10-lap shootout — remains in the Open. The winner of the final stage will also advance to the All-Star Race. A fourth driver will also advance by winning the Fan Vote.

MONSTER ENERGY OPEN — END OF STAGE 1

William Byron bumped his way into tonight’s NASCAR All-Star Race, bumping and then passing Bubba Wallace in the final turn to take Stage 1 of the Monster Energy Open at Charlotte Motor Speedway and will advance into the NASCAR All-Star Race later tonight.

Due to a caution late in Stage 1 when B.J. McLeod‘s car started smoking heavily, the scheduled 20 laps of Stage 1 went 27 laps. Byron was fourth when the white flag fell on the 24-driver Open field and was able to get by Wallace at the start-finish line to take the checkered flag.

“It was just crazy, the seas just parted for us,” Byron told Fox Sports 1. “It feels awesome to be in the All-Star Race. It’s a huge accomplishment for myself and Chad (crew chief Chad Knaus) has been here a number of times. It feels good.”

Two more stages remain: the 20-lap Stage 2 and the final 10-lap Stage 3 (the race winner). The winners of Stage 2 and the overall race winner will then join Byron in advancing to the All-Star Race.

A fourth driver will transfer to the All-Star Race by virtue of winning the fan vote.

Wallace finished second in Stage 1, followed by Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez and Alex Bowman.

Sixth through 10th were pole-sitter Daniel Hemric, Matt DiBenedetto, Paul Menard, David Ragan and Ryan Preece.

We’ll have the results of Stage 2 and the overall full results of the Open after their completion.

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Tonight’s All-Star Race at Charlotte: Start time, lineup and more

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No points. Just a $1 million to the winner. As pole-sitter Clint Bowyer says: “I don’t care if you’re Warren Buffet or the guy that is going to pick up (trash in) the grandstands after tonight, a million dollars is a million dollars. If you think it doesn’t mean anything different to me than it does to you, then you’re crazy.”

Drivers will go for the $1 million in tonight’s Monster Energy All-Star Race. The evening will begin with the Monster Energy Open for those not yet qualified for the All-Star Race.

Here’s all the info for tonight’s events:

(All times are Eastern)

MONSTER OPEN

START: Eurest Foodservice Director Lisa Melzer will give the command for the Monster Open at 6:10 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 6:18 p.m. 

PRERACE: Garage opens at 2 p.m. Drivers meeting is at 4 p.m. Driver introductions will begin at 5:56 p.m. The invocation will be given by Motor Racing Outreach Chaplain Donnie Floyd at 6:08 p.m. Julia Cole will perform the “God Bless America” at 6:09 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 50 laps (75 miles) around the 1.5-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 20. Stage 2 ends at Lap 40. 

SPECIAL RULES: Green and yellow laps count in the first two stages. Only green flag laps count in the final stage. Overtime will be applied to all stages if there is a caution just before the end of a stage.

TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race at 6 p.m. Coverage begins at 5 p.m. with NASCAR RaceDay. Motor Racing Network will broadcast the race. MRN’s coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast, which is also available at mrn.com.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for partly cloudy skies with a high of 87 degrees and a 3% chance of rain for the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Alex Bowman won stage 1. Daniel Suarez won stage 2. AJ Allmendinger won the final stage. Chase Elliott won the fan vote. All advanced to the All-Star Race last year

ADVANCING TO ALL-STAR RACE: The three stage winners advance along with the fan vote winner.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for Monster Energy Open starting lineup

 

ALL-STAR RACE

START: Axell “Slay” Hodges will give the command to start engines for the All-Star Race at 8:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 8:16 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage opens at 2 p.m. Drivers meeting is at 4 p.m. Driver introductions will begin at 7:35 p.m. The invocation will be given by car owner Joe Gibbs at 8 p.m. Michael Tait will perform the National Anthem at 8:01 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 85 laps (127 miles) around the 1.5-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 30. Stage 2 ends on Lap 50. Stage 3 ends at Lap 70. 

SPECIAL RULES: Each stage must end under green. Overtime procedures will be in place for each stage. Green and yellow laps count in the first three stages. Only green flag laps count in the final stage.

TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race at 8 p.m. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with NASCAR RaceDay. Motor Racing Network will broadcast the race. MRN’s coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast, which is also available at mrn.com.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for partly cloudy skies with a high of 82 degrees and a 15% chance of rain for the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Kevin Harvick won last year’s race and was followed by Daniel Suarez, who came from the Open, and Joey Logano.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for All-Star Race starting lineup

Starting lineups for Monster Energy Open, Monster Energy All-Star Race

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
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CONCORD, N.C. – Clint Bowyer, who last won a pole for a Cup points race in 2007, will lead the field to green in Saturday night’s Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Bowyer won the pole after posting the fastest time for three laps and a pit stop Friday night. He’ll be joined by Kyle Busch on the front row.

The All-Star Race will have 19 drivers. Fifteen qualified Friday. The three stage winners from the Monster Energy Open and the fan vote winner will advance to the All-Star Race.

Click here for All-Star Race starting lineup

The Monster Open will precede the All-Star Race. Daniel Hemric will start on the pole, leading a field of 24 cars to the green flag. This race is scheduled to take the green at 6:18 p.m. ET.

Michael McDowell joins Hemric on the front row.

Click here for Monster Energy Open starting lineup