Robin Pemberton explains the Sprint All-Star changes at Charlotte Motor Speedway - NASCAR photoEnlarge Photo
The 28th running of this non-points-paying contest will provide added incentives to win one of the four segments leading into the final, 10-lap shootout.
Through the Sprint Fan Vote, currently under way, race fans can again cast votes for their favorite eligible driver with the highest vote-gatherer earning a spot in the field.
There will be four 20-lap segments this year, taking place prior to the final 10-lap sprint that pays a $1 million prize. The new format places a higher premium for drivers that win one of the four segments; winners move to the front of the field and line up first through fourth - prior to the entire field coming to pit road for the final, mandatory pit stop in this contest.
As the drivers enter pit road, their crew chiefs will have to ponder the best pit strategy as multiple scenarios unfold. As in any Sprint Cup race, the team making the best call, combined with a team's optimum performance on pit road, is likely to have an advantage for the final 10 laps of competition - and that big pay day. Wherever the drivers are positioned as they come off pit road after that final pit stop is where they'll line up to start the 10-lap money 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.”
Eligibility for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race remain the same: race winners from either the 2011 or current season, through May 12, as well as any past champions of the event or NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions over the previous 10 years are eligible for the race. The two top finishers in the Sprint Showdown, a 40-lap preliminary race scheduled for earlier in the day and the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote advance into the all-star race lineup.
Fan voting is accomplished by using the NASCAR Sprint Cup mobile Android application on a Sprint phone, by testing "VOTE" to 229466 on any wireless carrier (standard text/data rates apply). Voting is also open at NASCAR.com/AllStar and fans can visit the Sprint Experience located in the midway at all Sprint Cup races. Voting continues through to 5PM EDT on Saturday, May 19.
Drivers currently eligible for the 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 reigning Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart.