NASCAR Cup Series News & Notes – All-Star Race/Open, Texas Motor Speedway

Get ready for Texas-sized NASCAR All-Star Race weekend

For the first time in the prestigious event’s history, the NASCAR All-Star race and NASCAR Open will take place at Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday, June 13. The NASCAR Open is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. ET and the NASCAR All-Star race will follow at 8 p.m. ET (on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) with over a million dollars up for grabs.

The NASCAR All-Star Race was introduced in 1985, and the first event was held at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the race was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip and crew chief Jeff Hammond. Waltrip led 27 laps in the 70-lap inaugural All-Star race en route to the win driving the No. 11 Junior Johnson & Associates Buick. It was Waltrip’s only career All-Star win.

This weekend’s NASCAR All-Star Race will be the 37th running of the prized exhibition race and Texas Motor Speedway will become the fourth different track to host the event; joining Charlotte Motor Speedway (34 All-Star races: 1985, 1987-2019), Atlanta Motor Speedway (1986) and Bristol Motor Speedway (2020).

The second NASCAR All-Star Race in 1986, was held at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the event was dominated by NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, who set the record for the most laps led in a NASCAR All-Star Race by a driver that won the event, leading 82 of the scheduled 83 laps (98.8%). Elliott started the event in the second starting position. Twice the NASCAR All-Star Race has been led by one driver flag-to-flag both at Charlotte, Dale Earnhardt led all 70 laps in 1990 and Davey Allison led all 70 laps (100%) in 1991.

The next 33 All-Star events would be held at Charlotte Motor Speedway until last season due to the restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic the race was rescheduled and moved to Bristol Motor Speedway. For the first time since 2013, the NASCAR All-Star Race winner went on to win the NASCAR Cup Series Championship in the same season when Chae Elliott grabbed his first All-Star win at Bristol and the series title in Phoenix later that year. The feat has occurred 11 times since the inception of the All-Star race in 1985 by six different drivers – Darrell Waltrip (1985), Dale Earnhardt (1987, 1990, 1993), Rusty Wallace (1989), Jeff Gordon (1995, 1997, 2001), Jimmie Johnson (2006, 2013) and Chase Elliott (2020). Elliott’s win gave Hendrick Motorsports their series leading 10th NASCAR All-Star race victory – Jimmie Johnson (four: 2003, 2006, 2012, 2013), Jeff Gordon (three: 1995, 1997, 2001), Terry Labonte (two: 1999, 1988), Chase Elliott (2020).

In total, the 36 NASCAR All-Star Races have produced 25 different winners, led by the recently retired Jimmie Johnson with four All-Star wins (2003, 2006, 2012 and 2013). Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick leads all active drivers in NASCAR All-Star Race wins with two (2018, 2007). In total, eight former NASCAR All-Star Race winners are entered this weekend – Harvick (two wins), Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, and Ryan Newman (each have one).

The 36 NASCAR All-Star Races have also produced 20 different pole winners; four of the 20 are active this weekend – Kyle Busch (three All-Star poles), Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr and Kyle Larson (each have one prior to this weekend).

By virtue of random draw this week, Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Kyle Larson will start from the pole on Sunday (June 13) at Texas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR All-Star Race. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch will join Larson on the outside front row. The NASCAR All-Star Race has been won from the pole or first starting position five times by four different drivers, the first three came in consecutive years – Dale Earnhardt (1990), Davey Allison (1991, 1992), Kurt Busch (2010) and Denny Hamlin (2015). For the entire NASCAR All-Star Race Stat Package on NASCARMedia click this link.


NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: NASCAR All-Star Race

The Place: Texas Motor Speedway

The Date: Sunday, June 13

The Time: 8 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 7:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: Six Rounds: Rounds 1-4: 15 laps; Round 5: 30 laps; Round 6: 10-lap shootout

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: NASCAR Open

The Place: Texas Motor Speedway

The Date: Sunday, June 13

The Time: 6 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 5 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: Three Segments: 20 laps / 20 laps / 10 laps


2021 NASCAR Open and NASCAR All-Star Race Formats:

The NASCAR All-Star Race has become one of the sport’s most innovative exhibition events, where formats and technical elements can be tested on a grand scale and this weekend’s spectacular will be no different.

NASCAR and Texas Motor Speedway announced earlier this season the format, technical elements, and pre-race festivities for the 2021 NASCAR All-Star Race. The event, which moves to TMS for the first time in its 36-race history, will have a Fort Worth feel as the pre-race festivities will feature an Old Western theme during driver introductions.

The NASCAR All-Star race format is as follows:

  • The race will feature six rounds, totaling 100 laps.
  • Starting lineup for Round 1 will be determined via random draw.
  • Rounds 1 through 4 will be 15 laps each; Round 5 will be 30 laps; the Final Round will feature a 10-lap shootout.
  • At the beginning of Round 2, the field will be inverted via random draw (minimum of eight/maximum of 12) live on FS1.
  • The round 2 random draw will also be seen live by fans attending the race on Big Hoss TV.
  • Before the start of Round 3, the entire field will be inverted.
  • At the beginning of Round 4, the field will be inverted via random draw (minimum of eight/maximum of 12).
  • Starting positions for Round 5 will consist of the cumulative finish from Rounds 1-4. The lowest cumulative finisher starts on the pole, second-lowest starts second, and so forth. All cars must enter pit road for a mandatory four-tire pit stop during Round 5.
  • The starting positions in the Final Round are set by finishing positions of Round 5.
  • Only green flag laps will count in the NASCAR All-Star race.
  • The fastest team on pit road during the mandatory pit stop will earn $100,000.
  • The race winner will be awarded $1,000,000.

From a technical side, all elements of the car remain the same except for the tapered spacer which will be 57/64ths.

NASCAR Open format is as follows:

  • The NASCAR Open will run immediately prior to the NASCAR All-Star Race and will include three segments (20 laps / 20 laps / 10 laps).
  • The winner of each segment will earn a spot in the All-Star Race as well as the winner of the Fan Vote. Fans may vote for their favorite driver by visiting http://www.NASCAR.com for details.

 

Who’s already locked into the Main Event – the 2021 NASCAR All-Stars

Heading into this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, 17 different drivers have earned their spot in the NASCAR All-Star Race on June 13 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

To be eligible for the NASCAR All-Star race this season, a driver must have won a Cup points event in either 2020 or 2021; have won a NASCAR All-Star Race and compete full-time; or have won a NASCAR Cup Series championship and compete full-time.

Entry Car Driver Organization Crew Chief Manufacturer
1 1 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Matt McCall 21 Chevrolet
2 2 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Jeremy Bullins 21 Ford
3 3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Justin Alexander 21 Chevrolet
4 4 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Rodney Childers 21 Ford
5 5 Kyle Larson Hendrick Motorsports Cliff Daniels 21 Chevrolet
6 6 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Scott Graves 21 Ford
7 9 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Alan Gustafson 21 Chevrolet
8 11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Chris Gabehart 21 Toyota
9 12 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Todd Gordon 21 Ford
10 18 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Ben Beshore 21 Toyota
11 19 Martin Truex Jr Joe Gibbs Racing James Small 21 Toyota
12 20 Christopher Bell Joe Gibbs Racing Adam Stevens 21 Toyota
13 22 Joey Logano Team Penske Paul Wolfe 21 Ford
14 24 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Ryan Fugle 21 Chevrolet
15 34 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Drew Blickensderfer 21 Ford
16 41 Cole Custer Stewart-Haas Racing Mike Shiplett 21 Ford
17 48 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Greg Ives 21 Chevrolet

Of the 17 drivers already entered in the NASCAR All-Star race, eight have scored wins in the yearly exhibition event, led by Kevin Harvick with two All-Star victories (2018, 2007). 2020 series champion, Chase Elliott is the most recent NASCAR All-Star race winner, bringing home the victory from Bristol Motor Speedway last season.

Active All-Star Winners Wins Seasons
Kevin Harvick 2 2018, 2007
Chase Elliott 1 2020
Kyle Larson 1 2019
Kyle Busch 1 2017
Joey Logano 1 2016
Denny Hamlin 1 2015
Kurt Busch 1 2010
Ryan Newman 1 2002

In total, 21 drivers will make a start in this season’s NASCAR All-Star race, four additional positions will be added to the NASCAR All-Star Race field following the NASCAR Open – the NASCAR Open Stage 1 Winner, the NASCAR Open Stage 2 Winner, the NASCAR Open Race Winner, and the Fan Vote Winner.

 

A dive into the NASCAR Open

The NASCAR Open was first introduced into the All-Star format in 1986 at Atlanta Motor Speedway – the first event was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Benny Parsons, but it did not grant him entry to the All-Star race; that started the following season.

 

There have been 38 NASCAR Open events, one per year since 1986; except in 2000, 2001 and 2002 it was held as two events with both winners moving on to the All-Star Race. Starting in 2015, the Open was broken up into segments and then in 2017 it was divided into stages and each winner of the segments, or the stages earned a spot in the All-Star race.

A total of 28 different drivers have won the NASCAR Open from 1986-2020; four are active this weekend and only two are entered in this weekend’s Open – Matt DiBenedetto and Daniel Suarez – the other three former Open winners have already qualified for the All-Star race.

 

Rank Active Open Winners Wins Seasons
1 Kyle Larson 2 2019, 2016
2 Martin Truex Jr 2 2010, 2007
3 Matt DiBenedetto 1 2020
4 Daniel Suarez 1 2017
5 Ryan Newman 1 2002

Sterling Marlin leads the NASCAR Cup Series in NASCAR Open wins with four victories (1988, 1989, 1993 and 2004).

Eight of the 28 NASCAR Open winners have multiple wins – Sterling Marlin (four wins), AJ Allmendinger, Clint Bowyer, Jeremy Mayfield, Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip, Kyle Larson, and Todd Bodine each have two Open victories. And three drivers have won consecutive NASCAR Opens – Sterling Marlin (1988-89), Michael Waltrip (1991-92) and Clint Bowyer (2014-15).

Ryan Newman (2002) and Kyle Larson (2019) are the only two drivers to win the NASCAR Open and the All-Star Race in the same weekend.

Among the 22 drivers vying for the coveted wins in this weekend’s NASCAR Open to move on to the All-Star race, Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick has the best average finish in points-paying races at Texas Motor Speedway, with a series leading 8.5 in two starts. Right behind him is Richard Petty Motorsport’s Erik Jones with an average finish of 10.3 in points-paying races at Texas.

 

Fan Vote is still underway

The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race is Sunday, and the Fan Vote is still going strong for the big event at Texas Motor Speedway. Voting will be open until Friday at noon ET, so here’s a roundup of the top five drivers as June 9.

The top vote-getters, in alphabetical order: Chase Briscoe, Matt DiBenedetto, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez and Bubba Wallace.

Fans can vote here for one eligible driver once a day per unique email address. Votes shared on Facebook and Twitter will count as bonus entries, for a total of four votes per day.

To compete in the NASCAR All-Star Race (8 p.m. ET, Sun., FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), drivers must be a NASCAR Cup Series winner in 2020-21 or be a full-time driver who was a previous All-Star or past Cup Series champion. The stage winners and overall race winner in the NASCAR Open (6 p.m. ET, Sun., FS1, MRN, SiriusXM) and the Fan Vote winner will also be eligible for the race.

 

The best in the Lone Star state

Since this weekend will be the first time the NASCAR Cup Series has held the NASCAR All-Star Race and Open at Fort Worth’s Texas Motor Speedway the best data to look at heading into Sunday is how drivers have performed in points-paying races at the famed 1.5-mile Texas track.

Seven former NASCAR Cup Series Texas Motor Speedway winners are entered this weekend and all seven are already in the NASCAR All-Star Race. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch leads the series among active drivers in points-paying race wins at Texas Motor Speedway with four victories; including the series’ most recent visit to the track last season (2013, 2016, 2018, 2020). Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon also grabbed a win at Texas Motor Speedway last season.

Besides Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick are the only other active drivers with multiple wins at Texas.

Texas Winners Wins Seasons
Kyle Busch 4 2020, 2018, 2016, 2013
Kevin Harvick 3 2019, 2018, 2017
Denny Hamlin 3 2019, 2010 sweep
Austin Dillon 1 2020
Joey Logano 1 2014
Kurt Busch 1 2009
Ryan Newman 1 2003

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

Sammy Hagar to play during pre-race festivities at NASCAR All-Star Race – Sammy Hagar, and fellow guitarist Vic Johnson will play Hagar’s classic guitar rock song “I Can’t Drive 55” as part of the pre-race festivities for the 37th annual NASCAR All-Star Race on June 13 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The two guitarists will perform the 1984 radio and MTV hit from a stage located in the Texas Motor Speedway grandstands at Section PL 102.

Hagar rose to fame in the 1970s with the band Montrose and the now classic “Rock Candy.” He then began a very successful solo career with songs like “There’s Only One Way to Rock”, “Your Love is Driving Me Crazy” and “Bad Motor Scooter.” His success continued as the lead singer for Van Halen from 1985-1996. Since 2014, he has played in the supergroup Sammy Hagar and the Circle with Johnson on guitar, former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony on bass and Jason Bonham, son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, on drums.

Hagar performed previously at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 8, 2015, during pre-race festivities for the 2015 NASCAR Cup Series race.

All-Star Laps For Charity Presented by S.W.A.T. Roofing & Contracting kicks off weekend at Texas – Speedway Children’s Charities – Texas Chapter will provide NASCAR All-Star Race fans with the opportunity to hit the track with their own vehicles mere hours before their heroes compete for the $1 million-to-win prize with the June 13 All-Star Laps for Charity Presented by S.W.A.T. Roofing & Contracting.

Participants will experience the thrill of driving around the 1.5-mile speedway oval from 8-10 a.m. to benefit local children who are in need. A $50 donation provides three laps on track and all proceeds going to Speedway Children’s Charities – Texas Chapter. Pre-registration is required.

“Driving on the track the same day as NASCAR’s greatest drivers is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and now we are giving our fans that chance all while raising money to help local children in need,” said Speedway Children’s Charities -Texas Chapter Executive Director Marissa Chaney. “There is no better way to kick-off All-Star race day than that!”

All drivers must be 18 years of age or older, and passengers must be at least six years of age. Safety belts must be worn by all occupants. Electric cars are prohibited. The Texas Motor Speedway pace car will set the speed limit. Visit http://www.speedwaycharities.org/texas for more information and to register.

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