The NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race and All-Star Open format at Bristol Motor Speedway will feature a choose rule, NASCAR announced Wednesday (July 1).
Drivers will commit to the inside or outside lane when they approach a certain spot on the track. If they don’t make a clear choice or switch lanes after passing that spot, they will have to drop to the rear of the field. Currently, only the leader gets to choose his lane in double-file restarts.
Cup competitors first talked about trying the choose rule, which is commonly used at short-tracks, and the sanctioning body agreed to try it in the All-Star Race.
“There has already been an incredible amount of buzz around this year’s NASCAR All-Star Race with the move to Bristol Motor Speedway,” Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said. “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.”
Additionally, the All-Star Open will have three stages — 35, 35 and 15 laps each. Each stage winner and the Fan Vote winner will move on to the main event, which also includes 2019 and 2020 race winners, All-Star winners and active full-time Cup champions.
The lineup for the Open will be set based on a random draw, split in half based on owner points. Pit selection is the inverse of the starting position.
The main event features four stages of 55, 35, 35 and 15 laps in length. In the final stage, only green flag laps will count; if the race is restarted with two or three laps left, then there will be as many attempts as needed to finish. There will be a random draw to set the lineup for the entire field.
Pit road strategy will be like other points-paying events.
Finally, the car numbers will be placed further back, toward the back fender.
The All-Star Open and All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway will be on July 15 at 7 p.m. ET and will air on Fox Sports 1.