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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

NASCAR America: What are the top five upset wins at Talladega?

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Of his 76 career NASCAR Cup wins, Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt earned a record 10 victories at Talladega Superspeedway.

Brad Keselowski has the most wins – five – of active drivers at the 2.66-mile facility, NASCAR’s largest racetrack.

On Thursday’s NASCAR America The MotorSports Hour, Krista Voda and analysts Parker Kligerman and AJ Allmendinger recapped the top five upset wins at ‘Dega:

No. 5: 1981 Talladega 500 – Ron Bouchard beats NASCAR Hall of Famers Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte in a wild three-wide finish. Bouchard’s winning margin was 2 feet. He would also go on to win the 1981 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year honors.

That was Ron Bouchard’s lone win in the Cup Series,” Voda said.

No. 4: 1988 Winston 500 – Phil Parsons earns the only win of his NASCAR Cup career, defeating runner-up and Hall of Famer Bobby Allison by .21 of a second.

Phil Parsons, stealing a win, in the black Skoal Bandit car, the classic Skoal,” Kligerman said. “The hair’s even better on Phil, it’s a blonde mullet.”

No. 3: 2006 UAW-Ford 500: Brian Vickers took out Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the backstretch on the final lap and wins under caution.

Brian Vickers tries to make a move on his teammate, Jimmie Johnson, and takes out Dale Earnhardt Jr.,” Kligerman said. “How did he make it out of Talladega alive?

No. 2: 2009 Aaron’s 499: Brad Keselowski earns his first career Cup win in one of the most dramatic finishes ever seen at Talladega. Carl Edwards tried to block Keselowski and force him below the yellow line at the bottom of the track. Keselowski wasn’t having any of it, held his ground, made contact with Edwards’ car – sending Edwards into the catch fence – and then held on to defeat Dale Earnhardt Jr. by .175 of a second.

You’re not supposed to go below the yellow line, Brad Keselowski said ‘I’m not going below the yellow line,’” Allmendinger said. “Carl Edwards went up in the grandstands and bounced back. I remember driving by there and said ‘wow, that was big.’”

Added Kligerman, “The reason (Keselowski) didn’t go below the yellow line is a year prior, Regan Smith got the win taken away for going below the yellow line. So (Keselowski) listened to that.”

No. 1: 2013 Aaron’s 499: This race went four laps into overtime before Front Row Motorsports teammates David Ragan and David Gilliland finished 1-2 for the organization’s first-ever Cup win. 

It was a long day,” Kligerman said, “It was basically nighttime (in victory lane) with rain delays and tornado warnings. It was a crazy day but that’s an exhilarating win for that team.”

Ragan comes into Sunday’s race “as a long shot, according to Vegas, 100-to-1 odds. Somebody’s got to take that bet,” Voda said. “David Ragan is a name you always have to pay attention to at Talladega.”

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All-Star Race features longer final stage, technical changes

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The Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race will feature a longer final stage for $1 million and some technical changes that could be implemented in the Gen 7 car.

NASCAR announced the technical guidelines and race format Wednesday night.

The two technical changes for the May 18 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be:

# A single-piece carbon fiber splitter/pan that is expected to offer improvements in ride height sensitivity for drivers. This is expected to provide a more stable aero platform and create more consistent performance in traffic.

# The car will be configured with a radiator duct that exits through the hood as opposed to the current design, which exits into the engine component. This feature is expected to create improved aerodynamic parity and reduce engine temperatures.

“Throughout its history, the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race has provided a platform to try new and innovative ideas, some of which we have incorporated on a full-time basis,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “Last year’s all-star rules package resulted in one of the most exciting all-star races in history. With a similar package, and added elements that we could see in the next generation race car, we expect another must-watch event.”

The format for the race is similar to last year with the exception of the final stage. That stage will be 15 laps — five laps longer than last year’s race. That will make the race 85 laps total.

The first stage will be 30 laps and the next two stages will be 20 laps each. Green flag and yellow flag laps will count in the first three stages. Only green flag laps will count in the final stage.

Each stage must end under green. Overtime procedures will be in place for each stage. If the race is restarted with two laps or less in the final stage, there will be unlimited attempts at a green, white, checkered finish.

As was the case last year, there is no mandatory pit strategy.

The Monster Energy Open, which also will be held May 18, will be three stages. The first two stages will be 20 laps. The final stage will be 10 laps. That is the same as last year.

Each stage winner in the Monster Energy Open advances to the All-Star Race.

Those eligible for the All-Star Race are winners from last season and this season, previous all-star winners who are competing full-time in the series, Cup champions who are running full-time in the series, the three stage winners from the Monster Energy Open and the winner of the fan vote, which is underway at nascar.com/fanvote.

Drivers who are eligible to compete are:

Aric Almirola

Ryan Blaney

Clint Bowyer

Kurt Busch

Kyle Busch

Austin Dillon

Chase Elliott

Denny Hamlin

Kevin Harvick

Jimmie Johnson

Erik Jones

Brad Keselowski

Joey Logano

Ryan Newman

Martin Truex Jr.

Kevin Harvick won last year’s All-Star Race. Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez and AJ Allmendinger advanced to last year’s All-Star Race by winning a stage in the Open. Chase Elliott was the fan vote winner.

Also, the format for All-Star qualifying will remain the same. Qualifying will include a pit stop.

Weekend passes for the All-Star Race are $79 per person and include admission to the May 17 Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Charlotte, All-Star qualifying, the Monster Energy Open on May 18 and the All-Star Race after that. Kids 13 and under get in free on May 17 and for $10 with an adult purchase on May 18. For more ticket information, call 1-800-455-FANS or visit CharlotteMotorSpeedway.com.

 

Kaulig Racing ‘slowly’ building to two full-time cars in Xfinity

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Kaulig Racing has a plan for the future.

That plan is being executed “slowly on purpose,” according to team president Chris Rice, but it is being built with the intention of the Xfinity Series team fielding two full-time cars in 2020.

That plan, which involves fielding the No. 10 Chevrolet in select races this year, is being helped by multiple drivers, including Elliott Sadler.

Sadler competed in last Friday’s race at Richmond Raceway, the first of two scheduled starts this year, and finished 12th.

Rice, who appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” on Wednesday, explained how Sadler came to be involved with the team a year after his retirement from full-time racing and how a second car is helping rookie Justin Haley.

“I’m very good friends with Elliott,” said Rice. “Lived with Elliott. We still talk on a daily basis.”

Sadler came to Rice in the weeks before he announced his retirement from full-time racing last year. He let Rice know he had a sponsor, Nutrien Ag Solutions, that “I’ve got to do something else with it.”

At the end of January, the team announced Chastain – a watermelon farmer away from the track – would compete in three races for the team with the sponsor.

“It’s a perfect fit for Ross Chastain,” Rice said. “Elliott is giving back like what was given to him with Dale Jarrett with Ross Chastain. He’s doing kind of the same thing. … So it just worked out perfectly.”

Chastain competed for Kaulig in the season-opener at Daytona, leading 23 laps and finishing 13th.

While Chastain competes mainly for JD Motorsports in Xfinity, he will make his second of four starts with Kaulig Racing next weekend at Talladega. He’ll return to the No. 10 at Chicagoland Speedway (June 29) and Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 2).

But the No. 10 effort doesn’t stop with Chastain or Sadler, who makes his second start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Sept. 14). Austin Dillon will make a second start in the car at Charlotte (May 25).

NASCAR on NBC analyst AJ Allmendinger also will drive the No. 10 in “quite a few races” that have yet to be announced. Rice said there are a number of open races on the car the team is looking to fill.

Everything done with the No. 10 is done with the intention of helping Haley, who Rice said has a two-year deal with Kaulig to drive the No. 11 Chevrolet. Through eight races with crew chief Nick Harrison, the rookie has six top 10s and a best finish of seventh twice.

Kaulig fields its cars with technical assistance from Richard Childress Racing. Kaulig is based in RCR’s Welcome, North Carolina campus.

“I think it’s a challenge for anybody when you don’t go each and every week and you’re kind of sporadic,” Rice said. “We have built our program slowly on purpose.

“We want to be ready when we go to the race track. We want that car to be helpful to the 11 car. We don’t want it to take away from the 11 car. That’s what we do. … It’s not two teams. It’s one team building two cars and that’s the way we work on them in the shop. Everybody works on everything. We have enough equipment to do it, we have enough stuff to do it, we have enough people, so it’s not that difficult. Just racing each and every week helps you to get into the swing of things.”

Rice, who was crew chief on the No. 11 for its first three years in the series, said the team puts an emphasis on people when putting together its No. 10 operation.

“Can you get the quality people and the people that you need to be able to mix in with the group that you already have?” Rice said. “Because if you get a bunch of people that do not get along, then it doesn’t work right. That’s in any business. I think it all revolves around people. I think about Stewart-Haas (Racing) and Hendrick (Motorsports) and those guys when they built those programs from one-car teams all the way up.”

This article has been corrected to state that Austin Dillon will compete in the May race in Charlotte, not the playoff race.

NASCAR America Motormouths at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America presents Motormouths airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Rutledge Wood, Kyle Petty and A.J. Allmendinger will share their thoughts on the big stories of the day, as well as take phone calls from fans.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.