NASCAR announced that they will be bringing back the All-Star format that was used in the 1992 All-Star Race.
For this year’s All-Star format, drivers who are eligible to be locked in the All-Star Race are the 2016 and 2017 Cup Series winners, the past All-Star winners, the Monster Energy Open stage winners and the NASCAR Fan Vote winner. There will be a total of 20 drivers in Saturday’s race. 16 drivers are already locked in for the main event while the other four drivers will be determined during the Open race.
NASCAR will also debut the soft compound tyres that will be used for the main event. Each team will have one set of soft compounds that provide better grip and speed in the 70-lap non-points race. Teams that do use soft tyres are required to start behind those that use regular primary tyres.
The Monster Energy Open (formerly known as the All-Star Showdown) will feature three segments, to a total of 50 laps, for the drivers that must race their way in to the All-Race race (20 laps, 20 laps, 10 laps). Four drivers will be able to race in the main event determined by the three segment winners and the fan votes winner.
The All-Star Race format will feature four segments, totaling the distance of 70 laps, (20 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps, 10 laps) similar to the 1992 edition of the event. The goal for all the competitors is to earn their spot in the final segment that will hold 10 laps and feature 10 cars only. The winners of the first three stages will lock themselves into the final stage of the race, as long as they all stay on the lead lap.
The other seven drivers eligible to enter the final stage will be those with the best average finish across the stages. The remaining 10 drivers will be lined up by average finish of the first three stages and are given an option to make a pit stop. The exit off pit road will decide the starting order for the final stage of the main event.
The 16 drivers locked in the All-Star race: Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex Jr, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Chris Buescher, Kyle Larson, Ryan Newman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The drivers who have to race in the Monster Energy Open to get in the All-Star race: Austin Dillon, Trevor Bayne, Danica Patrick, Ty Dillon, Clint Bowyer, Reed Sorenson, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Blaney, Gray Gaulding, Chase Elliott, Paul Menard, Matt DiBenedetto, Jeffery Earnhardt, Landon Cassill, David Ragan, Regan Smith (who is subbing for the injured Aric Almirola), AJ Allmendinger, Cody Ware, Derrike Cope, Carl Long, Cole Whitt, Erik Jones, Corey Lajoie and Michael McDowell.