This year’s Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race will be part innovation and part competition.
As Motorsport.com first reported on Tuesday, NASCAR will use next month’s all-star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway as a test of a new aero package, which was debuted in the Xfinity Series last year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Each car will be fitted with aero ducts, a six-inch-high spoiler with two 12-inch ears, a restrictor-plate and the 2014-style splitter.
Working in concert, these additions create a unique aerodynamic effect, the results of which produced a record number of lead changes and leaders in the Xfinity race last summer at Indy.
“NASCAR is committed to innovation and will always work to improve the racing product for every series and venue,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer.
“The positive feedback following last year’s Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis gave us the foundation to implement this dynamic package for the All-Star Race. We believe the hard work of the entire industry will provide the best race for our passionate fans.”
The format for the annual non-points event will include four stages – 30 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps and 10 laps. Only green flag laps will be counted in the final stage.
Normal stage break procedures will be in effect, with one addition this season: NASCAR overtime rules will be in play for all stages. There will be no mandatory pit strategy.
The Monster Energy Open will consist of three stages set at 20, 20 and 10 laps respectively. Each stage winner will advance to the evening’s main event.
“The All-Star Race has a long history of edginess and innovation. We want to challenge drivers, spark on-track action and create the best show for the fans,” said Marcus Smith, president and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc.
“This race has always been a proving ground for some of the best innovations in our sport, from running under the lights to stage racing and double-file restarts. It’s the perfect opportunity to try something different.”
The field for the 2018 all-star race will include series race winners in 2017 and 2018; former all-star race winners who are competing full-time; series champions who are competing full-time; the winner of each of the three stages of the Monster Energy Open; and the winner of the 2018 Fan Vote.
Currently, the following drivers are eligible to compete: Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Martin Truex Jr.
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