The 28th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race will provide some additional incentive for drivers to win one of the four segments heading into the final 10-lap shootout, as the emphasis on winning and pit road strategy have never been more prevalent in this special night of NASCAR star-studded competition. Through the annual Sprint Fan Vote, underway now, fans can again cast ballots for their favorite eligible driver. The driver receiving the highest number of votes will earn a spot in the field.
The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race set for Saturday, May 19 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (SPEED, 7 p.m.), will consist of four 20-lap segments, concluding with a 10-lap sprint and a $1 million payout to the race winner. This year’s format will place a higher premium for drivers who win one of the four segments, however, as the winners of the first four segments will move to the front of the field and line up 1-4 prior to the field coming to pit road for the final mandatory pit stop.
Here's a graphic that explains the format.
When the drivers come down pit road, crew chiefs will have to decide on their best pit strategy, as multiple scenarios will unfold. The team that makes the best call, combined with the optimum performance on pit road, is likely to be in the driver’s seat for the final 10 laps of competition. Wherever the drivers are positioned as they come off pit road after that pit stop is where they will line up to start the final 10-lap segment.
"This new addition to the format is going to provide even greater incentive for the drivers to go all out to win one of the four segments," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. "It also puts even more focus on the pit crews and how they perform during that final pit stop. The team aspect of the sport will be highlighted more than ever and it helps set the stage for an exciting race and an exciting evening for the fans."
The eligibility standards for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race remain the same: race winners from either the 2011 or 2012 season through May 12 or any past champions of the all-star event or NASCAR Sprint Cup Series over the previous 10 years are eligible for the race. In addition, the top-two finishers in the Sprint Showdown, a 40-lap preliminary race scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote, all advance into the all-star race lineup.
Fans can vote by using the NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile Android™ application on their Sprint phone, or by texting "VOTE" to 229466 on any wireless carrier (standard text messaging and data rates apply). Voting is also open at NASCAR.com/AllStar or by visiting the Sprint Experience, located in the midway at all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Voting will continue until 5 p.m. EDT on Saturday, May 19. As an added customer benefit, votes submitted from a Sprint, Boost, Nextel or Virgin Mobile device count double toward an individual driver’s total.
Individual tickets for the May 19 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Blake Shelton pre-race concert presented by Target are on sale now starting at just $39. Fans can also purchase an All-Star Four-Pack for just $99. Tickets can be obtained online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling Charlotte Motor Speedway at 1-800-455-FANS.
The eighth annual NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge returns to kick off the all-star week’s competition, Thursday, May 17 at 7 p.m. at the Time Warner Cable Arena. The event’s finishing order determines pit selection for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. The No. 11 FedEx Toyota team is the defending Pit Crew Challenge champion. Tickets for the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge start at $15 and can be purchased online at www.pitcrewchallenge.com or by calling the Charlotte Bobcats ticket office at 800-745-3000.
Drivers currently eligible for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (as of March 27) include: Marcos Ambrose, Trevor Bayne, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Mark Martin, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman, David Ragan, Regan Smith and Tony Stewart.