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What is the NASCAR All-Star Race format? Let us explain the details

For a driver, most races are simple. Go fast until you’re told to slow. But the NASCAR All-Star Race is different with a format that seems to change yearly. So, do drivers know what the NASCAR All-Star Race format is?
“I haven’t even looked into it,” Austin Dillon said this week.

Ryan Newman said this week: “There are too many things to try to remember. I guess the crew chiefs are going to get some mental exercise as we go through each stage on Sunday.”

They and other drivers can be forgiven if they don’t have the format memorized.

But we’re here to help.

To get you ready for Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Race (8 p.m. ET on FS1) at Texas Motor Speedway, here is what the format will be:

  • The race is 100 laps.
  • Only green flag laps count.
  • The race will be divided into what is being called six rounds (think six short stages).
  • The starting lineup was set by a random draw. Kyle Larson, who has won the past two Cup races, starts on the pole. Kyle Busch starts second. Chase Elliott, who won last year’s All-Star Race, starts sixth. Seventeen cars are in the field. Four more will be added. The three segment winners from Sunday’s 50-lap NASCAR Open (6 p.m. ET on FS1) advance. Also advancing is the fan vote winner.

Here is what happens when the green flag waves Sunday night:

  • Rounds 1-4 are 15 laps each.
  • Round 5 is 30 laps.
  • The Final Round is 10 laps.

Seems simple. But there is more:

  • At the beginning of Round 2, the field will be inverted via random draw (minimum of eight/maximum of 12 cars inverted).
  • 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 cars inverted).
  • There are no more inversions after Round 4 (60 laps into the 100-lap event).

OK, so what comes next, beginning with Round 5, which is 30 laps?

  • 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. If a driver wins all four rounds, their cumulative score would be 4 (based on their finishing position in each round 1+1+1+1 =4) and they would start Round 5 on the pole.
  • All cars must enter pit road for a mandatory four-tire pit stop during Round 5. The pit stop must be done on or before the 20th lap in the 30-lap round.
  • The fastest team on pit road during the mandatory pit stop will earn $100,000. The time is measured from the yellow line at pit entrance to the last pit road loop. Teams must also complete those stops without a penalty.

That leaves just the Final Round. So what happens there?

  • The starting positions in the Final Round are set by finishing positions of Round 5.
  • The race winner is awarded $1 million.

Now, you know the NASCAR All-Star Race format.