The format for this year’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway is as gimmicky as gimmicks get, and pretty much nobody understands it.
A total of 21 drivers are set to compete in this 100-lap race around the four-turn, 1.5-mile (2.414-kilometer) oval in Fort Worth, Texas for a chance to win $1,000,000. Of those 21 drivers, 17 have already been determined, based on this year’s qualifying criteria.
Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, William Byron, Cole Custer, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr. are already locked into the race.
Like previous years, four more drivers will qualify for the race.
The winners of the three stages (20 laps, 20 laps, 10 laps) of the 50-lap All-Star Open will also get into the main event, as will the winner of the Fan Vote. The Fan Vote does not include the 17 drivers who are already locked into the All-Star Race.
If the winner of the Fan Vote crashes out of the All-Star Open or ends up being one of the drivers who wins one of the stages of the Open, the final spot in the All-Star Race will go to the driver who has the next highest vote total.
But this, and the $1,000,000 prize, is right around where the “like previous years” similarities end. NASCAR went all-out in making this year’s All-Star Race as gimmicky and as hard to understand as possible.
They succeeded. Try to follow along.
This 100-lap race, where only green flags will count, is a six-round race, with the six rounds consisting of 15, 15, 15, 15, 30 and 10 laps, respectively.
The starting lineup for the first round was determined by a random draw.
Following so far? Good. Good luck from here.
After the opening round, the field will be inverted — but starting with a randomly selected position from eighth through 12th place.
After the second round, the entire field will be inverted.
Then after the third round, the field will again be inverted starting with a randomly selected position from eighth through 12th place.
After the fourth round, the lineup for the fifth round will be set by cumulative finish from the first four rounds, with the best cumulative finisher starting from the pole position, the second best cumulative finisher starting in second place, etc.
During the fifth round, all remaining cars must pit for four tires, and the crew with the fastest pit stop will pocket $100,000.
In a shocking turn of events, the sixth and final shootout round will start off with the drivers lined up in their positions from the previous round — and no inverts.
What a concept.
The winner of this shootout will be considered (by NASCAR, that is) the winner of the overall event and pocket the $1,000,000 prize.
On the plus side, this event is sure to be interesting.
Tune in to Fox Sports 1 at 6:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 13 for the live broadcast of the NASCAR All-Star Open from Texas Motor Speedway, and stay tuned in for the live broadcast of the All-Star Race beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET. Maybe it will make more sense live.