NASCAR strategically leaves out one All-Star Race detail

Talladega, NASCAR (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Talladega, NASCAR (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

NASCAR revealed the current top five drivers in the All-Star Fan Vote, but they stayed quiet on current vote totals for a very good reason.

Drivers who compete full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series are automatically locked into Sunday evening’s All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway, a track which hasn’t hosted a Cup Series race since 1996, if they are former series champions, former All-Star Race winners, or race winners in either 2022 or 2023.

So there are 21 drivers who are automatically locked into the race (22 before Alex Bowman’s back injury). Everybody else is eligible for the All-Star Fan Vote, provided they competed in (or attempted to qualify for) the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

The winner of the Fan Vote also gets to compete in the main event. If that driver wins the All-Star Open, the next highest vote-getter, among drivers not yet locked in, gets the final spot.

NASCAR revealed the five drivers who have received the most votes so far. In alphabetical order, they include Kaulig Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola, Legacy Motor Club rookie Noah Gragson, Spire Motorsports’ Corey LaJoie, and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Ryan Preece.

NASCAR won’t reveal the actual leader/vote totals yet, for one simple reason: they don’t want anybody to get complacent and not try in the All-Star Open.

They don’t want anybody to simply think ‘okay, we’re in, let’s not risk the car.’ That would defeat the whole purpose of having multiple spots still up for grabs.

Note that this doesn’t mean that everyone else (sixth place and lower in vote total) is no longer eligible. It simply means that these are the frontrunners.

For all we know, these five drivers could be tied, one vote ahead of the driver in sixth place. For all we know, all five could be outside of the top five already. Again, NASCAR doesn’t reveal that information, and for the same reason.

The other seven drivers who are eligible to win the All-Star Fan Vote include, in alphabetical order, Wood Brothers Racing’s Harrison Burton, Spire Motorsports’ Ty Dillon, Joe Gibbs Racing rookie Ty Gibbs, Front Row Motorsports’ Todd Gilliland, Kaulig Racing’s Justin Haley, Front Row Motorsports’ Michael McDowell, and Kaulig Racing’s Chandler Smith.

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The All-Star Open is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 from North Wilkesboro Speedway beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 21. The All-Star Race is set to follow, also on Fox Sports 1, beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET. Begin a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss any NASCAR action from the sport’s return to the iconic venue!