NASCAR Will Use ‘Choose Rule’ For All-Star Race

BRISTOL, TENNESSEE - AUGUST 17: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, leads the field into turn one at the start of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 17, 2019 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

This year’s version of NASCAR’s All-Star Race will have several firsts.  It will be at a track other than Charlotte Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, will be run outside the month of May, will have thousands of fans in attendance, and will have a “choose rule.”

The “choose” rule, which is popular among short track fans, will fittingly make its NASCAR national series debut during the first NASCAR All-Star Race held on a short track. As drivers approach a designated spot on the track, they must commit to the inside or outside lane for the restart. The rule adds more strategy than traditional restarts, where drivers line up in the order they come off pit road.

NASCAR and Speedway Motorsports officials had previously announced the race was moving to Bristol from Charlotte Motor Speedway, which had hosted 34 of the race’s 35 previous editions. The All-Star Race, originally scheduled for May in Charlotte, had to be postponed as NASCAR worked on making up races missed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There has already been an incredible amount of buzz around this year’s NASCAR All-Star Race with the move to Bristol Motor Speedway,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “In addition to the thrilling racing we’re used to seeing at Bristol, the choose rule is going to add another dynamic to the race. Drivers and fans have been asking for this change and I can’t think of a better time to try it than the all-star race.”

“This NASCAR All-Star Race under the bright lights of Bristol is setting up to be a memorable event for ages to come,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway. “With a million-dollar payout and no championship points on the line in this all out high-banked short track clash, it’s surely going to be a race that fans will not want to miss.”

The race will still have four stages, lasting 55 laps, 35 laps, 35 laps and 15 laps. Both green flag and yellow flag laps will count in Stages 1-3 with only green flag laps counting in the Final Stage. In the Final Stage, if the race is restarted with two or less laps remaining, there will be unlimited attempts at a green, white, checkered finish under green flag conditions.

The NASCAR Open will take place prior to the NASCAR All-Star Race and will include three segments (35 laps / 35 Laps / 15 laps). The winner of each segment will earn a spot in the All-Star Race as well as the winner of the Fan Vote.

Technical rules for the cars will remain the same as other NASCAR Cup Series short track races, including the May 31 race at Bristol. The liveries will sport a new look, however, as the car number will move from the door towards the rear wheel in an effort to give more exposure to the teams’ sponsors.

Those eligible for the NASCAR All-Star Race include drivers who won a points event in either 2019 or 2020; drivers who won a NASCAR All-Star Race and compete full-time; and drivers who won a NASCAR Cup Series championship and compete fulltime.

Drivers who have already clinched an All-Star Race spot: Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Justin Haley, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr.

Coverage of the NASCAR All-Star Race will begin on July 15 at 6 p.m. ET on FS1. The NASCAR Open will air at 7 p.m. and the NASCAR All-Star Race begins at 8:30 p.m. on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Up until now NASCAR and tracks have only allowed limited numbers of fans.  Talladega allowed 5000 fans two weeks, ago, while restrictions in place in Pennsylvania meant there were no fans.

However, as of now, there are no limits on the number of fans who can attend the All-Star Race. Estimates are that the number could be up to 30,000 at a track that has seating for over 100,000.

The track said tickets start at $35 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under are on sale at Free parking is available at Speedway Parking located at the corner of White Top Road and Hwy 394 and paid parking options are available at neighboring properties. Shuttles and trams will not be running for this event.

A limited number of overnight RV camping spaces are available for purchase. Facial coverings are required in common areas such as entering through the gates, restrooms, concessions, souvenir stands, elevators and concourse areas. Facial coverings may be removed once physically distanced in assigned ticketed seat. Clear bags only (no coolers) will be allowed in for this event. Further details and other requirements can be found on the Bristol Motor Speedway website.