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Sport NASCAR takes steps to juice up competition for Saturday's All-Star race

21:06  17 may  2018
21:06  17 may  2018 Source:   usatoday.com

Allgaier holds off teammate Sadler to win Xfinity at Dover

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NASCAR takes steps to juice up competition for Saturday ' s All - Star race . Runaways have been more the norm in recent All - Star events, and NASCAR has taken a dramatic step this year in attempting to reverse that trend.

RELATED: Official NASCAR release. NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway announced the format for the Monster Energy NASCAR All - Star Race on Wednesday, leaning heavily on a new rules package to shake up the annual invitational event.

CONCORD, N.C. – The drivers and teams being outrun by Kevin Harvick get a breather this week as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule takes a break for the annual All-Star Race.

Harvick will be in the field for Saturday night’s race, of course, and there will be a million-dollar prize on the line, but there won’t be quite as much urgency to stop the Harvick train.

Harvick has won two consecutive races and five of the first 12 this season as teams gather at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend for an 80-lap special event that often hasn’t been that special, at least in recent years.

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LONG POND, Pa. — Given the strong buzz about the higher-downforce, restrictor-plate competition package used for the Monster Energy NASCAR All - Star Race in May, it was almost a foregone conclusion that RELATED: NASCAR taking ‘deep dive’ with learnings from All - Star rules package.

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Runaways have been more the norm and less the exception in recent All-Star events, and NASCAR has taken a dramatic step this year in attempting to reverse that trend.

The 21 drivers competing in Saturday night’s race will do so under an odd set of aerodynamic rules. Cars will be fitted with power-sapping restrictor plates (the norm at big superspeedways but an oddity at CMS) and six-inch spoilers. The idea is to decrease the aero advantage of the lead car and, hopefully, make racing packs bigger. A similar experimental approach led to better racing in last year’s Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Drivers generally are skeptical of using the controversial plates at mid-range tracks, but most understand the need to juice the competition at the series’ 1.5-mile facilities.

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Saturday , NASCAR ' s annual All - Star Race will take place. The format has slightly changed this year, with the cars now running 80 laps (70 laps last season) over four different segments.

The Monster Energy NASCAR All - Star Race , formerly known as The Winston from 1985 to 2003, the Nextel All - Star Challenge from 2004 to 2007, then the Sprint All - Star Race from 2008 to 2016, is an annual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stock car exhibition race between race winners from

“The All-Star Race has gone through a lot of changes over the years, but the addition of restrictor plates may be the biggest,” said Matt Kenseth, who will continue his work in the Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 cars as a substitute for Trevor Bayne. “I honestly don’t know what to expect other than the cars will be a lot slower.”

Although NASCAR has provided no hints that the aero changes might be tried in other races, the All-Star event provides a good platform for testing changes.

“I’m not a particular fan of it, but we do need to orchestrate some better racing at mile-and-a-half tracks, particularly Charlotte,” said Kyle Busch, who won the race in 2017. “It hasn’t been one of our best racetracks there since the repave as far as working multiple lanes. It’s been pretty single-file there, and I don’t know why.

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NASCAR All-Star Race: Kurt Busch expects Talladega-style racing

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CONCORD, N.C. – Kyle Busch took control of Saturday night’ s Monster Energy All - Star Race on the final restart with 10 laps left and motored away to a 1.274-second victory—his first in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell talks about the next steps for the rules package used in the All - Star Race . Runner- up Kyle Benjamin elaborates on why he races people the way he wants to be raced , following his late- race nudge -- and not dump

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“You would think with age on asphalt it would keep getting better and better, and it hasn’t. We need to bring out more things to try, and I’m not a particular fan of slowing the lead car down and bringing that guy back to the rest of the field. But if that gets us back to closer racing, then so be it.”

Busch is one of 17 drivers who have qualified for starting spots in Saturday’s race. The All-Star field will total 21. The winner of a fan vote will join the field, and the three stage winners in the preliminary Monster Energy Open will advance to the feature.

Among the drivers who will be racing in the 50-lap Open (stages are 20, 20 and 10) are Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola, Erik Jones, Paul Menard, William Byron, Bubba Wallace and Alex Bowman.

Elliott, son of Bill Elliott, one of NASCAR's all-time most popular drivers, is the favorite to win the fan vote.

The All-Star race will be broken into stages of 30, 20, 20 and 10 laps. If necessary, overtime rules will be used at the end of stages so that no stage will end under caution-flag conditions. Only green-flag laps will count in the final 10-lap dash.

NASCAR at Charlotte: Live updates, results, highlights from the 2018 All-Star Race

  NASCAR at Charlotte: Live updates, results, highlights from the 2018 All-Star Race NASCAR is back in Charlotte for the 2018 All-Star Race. Follow along for live updates, results and highlights from Charlotte Motor Speedway.On-and-off rain throughout the day on Friday limited drivers to not more than a few laps of pratice but the weather subsided long enough in the evening to get the lineup set for race day. Matt Kenseth logged the fastest qualifying time and lap speed to win the pole in just his second race of the season. This marks the veteran driver's third time winning the pole at NASCAR's All-Star Race. Next to Kenseth on the front row with be Roush Fenway Racing teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

And what of Harvick, the current star of the all-stars? He has won this event once, in 2007, and scored runnerup finishes in 2014 and 2015.

Johnson, winless this year, has four All-Star victories and is the only driver in the field with more than one win. He has won eight points races at CMS.

Here are drivers eligible for the race and how they became eligible:

1. Ryan Blaney, 2017 Pocono (1) win

2. Clint Bowyer, 2018 Martinsville (1) win

3. Kurt Busch, 2017 Daytona 500 win

4. Kyle Busch, 2017 Pocono (2) win

5. Austin Dillon, 2017 Charlotte (1) win

6. Denny Hamlin, 2017 New Hampshire (1) win

7. Kevin Harvick, 2017 Sonoma win

8. Jimmie Johnson, 2017 Texas win

9. Kasey Kahne, 2017 Indianapolis win

10. Matt Kenseth, 2017 Phoenix (2) win

11. Brad Keselowski, 2017 Atlanta win

12. Kyle Larson, 2017 Auto Club win

13. Joey Logano, 2017 Richmond win

14. Jamie McMurray, Former All-Star Race winner

15 .Ryan Newman, 2017 Phoenix win

16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 2017 Talladega (1) win

17. Martin Truex Jr., 2017 Las Vegas win

Note: Four more drivers will be added: The winner of a fan vote, and the three stage winners in the preliminary Monster Energy Open.

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