Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

NASCAR All-Star Race: Explaining the format and other details

Steve Letarte shares his memories from the last time NASCAR raced at North Wilkesboro Speedway in 1996 and he went to victory lane thanks to Jeff Gordon's win. Letarte also previews the format for the All-Star Open.

Across the almost 40-year history of the NASCAR All-Star Race, the event has had enough formats, lengths and names to make a professional statistician dizzy.

The first race in 1985 was a 70-lap sprint with one pit stop required. Very simple. Over the years, a variety of formats have been introduced in attempts to spice the competition and, in particular, make the final laps frenetic.

MORE: Ross Chastain says “I just need to hit less things”

MORE: Former competitors share memories of North Wilkesboro

Now, welcome to All-Star racing 2023-style, in which not only the format but also the track is different. The All-Star Race lands at North Wilkesboro Speedway for the first time, as the track celebrates a much-ballyhooed renovation and its first Cup event since 1996.

For those in attendance and those watching at home, here’s a quick look at how it will work:

The essentials

  • The All-Star Race (8 p.m. ET, Sunday) will be 200 laps.
  • All laps will count.
  • There will be a competition break at around Lap 100.
  • Each team will start the race on sticker tires, with three additional sets of tires available. After the competition break, only one set of sticker tires can be used.
  • Standard NASCAR overtime rules will be in effect.
  • Technical rules for the cars will be the same as in other Cup short track races.
  • The race winner will pocket $1 million.

The field

  • Cup race winners from 2022 and ’23 seasons.
  • Former All-Star race winners who are competing full-time.
  • Former Cup champions who are competing full-time.
  • Three drivers who transfer from the Open (top two finishers and winner of a fan vote)

Pit Crew Challenge:

  • Teams will be timed on a four-tire stop, with timing lines marked one pit stall behind and one pit stall forward.
  • Results of the pit crew competition (5:45 p.m. ET, Friday) will determine the starting lineups for the heat races and the Open.

The starting grid

  • Two 60-lap heat races Saturday night will set most of the field for the All-Star Race.
  • All laps will count, and drivers will start on a sticker set of tires with another set available.
  • Results of the first heat (7:20 p.m. ET, Saturday) will set the inside line for the All-Star starting grid. Results of the second heat (8:15 p.m. ET, Saturday) will set the outside line on the All-Star starting grid.
  • The top two finishers in the All-Star Open and the winner of a fan vote will fill the final three starting spots in the All-Star Race.
  • The Open (5:30 p.m., Sunday) will be 100 laps. All laps will count, and drivers will start on a sticker set of tires with another set available. There will be a competition break around Lap 40.