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NASCAR viewer’s guide: All-Star Race at Texas

At 43, Kurt Busch was hired to help build 23XI and win races, and so far he's doing both. Steve Letarte, Jeff Burton, and Dale Jarrett discuss how he's made every team better and why his win is so popular.

The 2022 NASCAR All-Star Race is set to hit Texas Motor Speedway this weekend.

The 1.5-mile quad-oval plays host to the exhibition event for the second season in a row, falling between the 13th and 14th points races on the Cup Series schedule.

Twenty drivers are locked into Sunday’s big show (8 p.m. ET, FS1), while four others will advance from the All-Star Open (5:30 p.m. ET, FS1).

The Camping World Truck Series and the Xfinity Series also hit the track for their points events before the Cup stars fight for a $1 million prize.

Get set for the full All-Star weekend here:

The format

The full format for this year’s All-Star Race was unveiled in late April. Take a look at how the four-stage race will be broken down:

  • Stage 1 (25 laps): Stage 1 winner will start on the pole in the final stage as long as he finishes 15th or better in Stages 2 and 3.
  • Stage 2 (25 laps): Stage 2 winner starts second in final stage as long as he finishes 15th or better in Stage 3.
  • Special Stage Break (Pit Stop Competition): Each team must pit and perform a four-tire stop. The team with the shortest time on pit road (pit in/pit out) wins the pit crew award and the driver will start fourth in the final stage as long as he finishes 15th or better in Stage 3.
  • Stage 3 (25 laps): Stage 3 winner starts third in final stage.
  • Stage 4 (50 laps): Stage 1 winner starts first, Stage 2 winner second, Stage 3 winner third and pit stop competition winner starts fourth. If a “natural” caution occurs between laps 15-25 of the final stage, standard race procedures will be in effect. If no “natural” caution occurs during that time, NASCAR will call an “All-Star” competition caution. Winner of Stage 4 earns $1 million.

Preceding the All-Star Race will be the Open, in which the 16 drivers not yet entered in the main event will compete in three stages of 20-20-10 laps. The three stage winners will advance to the All-Star Race in addition to the fan vote winner.

Setting the grid

Qualifying for both the Open and the All-Star Race will take place Saturday evening.

The 16 drivers competing in the Open will go out for single-car, single-lap qualifying to set the lineup for their 50-lap race.

The All-Star Race competitors will then qualify in two rounds. The first round will feature typical single-car qualifying in reverse order of the owners points standings. The fastest eight drivers will then advance to the second round, utilizing a three-round, head-to-head elimination bracket.

Here’s the format for round two:

  • Elimination bracket will feature two cars staged in adjacent pit stalls near the end of pit road.
  • At the sound of an alert, each pit crew will perform a four-tire stop and, at the drop of the jack, drivers will exit their pit stalls (with no speed limit) onto the track.
  • First car back to the start/finish line advances to the next round.
  • Final pairing competes for the pole.

All eyes on the stars

Kyle Larson is the man to watch Sunday night at Texas Motor Speedway.

The defending Cup champion is also the defending All-Star Race winner and has won each of his last two All-Star starts, missing the 2020 event due to his 32-race suspension. No driver has won in three consecutive All-Star appearances. Larson could become the first on Sunday and won the track’s playoff race in October.

The last two seasons’ All-Star Races have also produced that year’s eventual champion. Chase Elliott went to Victory Lane in 2020 at Bristol Motor Speedway before claiming his first Cup title in November. Hendrick Motorsports is also chasing its third straight win in the event, a feat no other team has accomplished.

Entry lists

Sixteen drivers will fight in the Open for the four remaining spots in the All-Star Race. Among them are Tyler Reddick, Daniel Suarez, Austin Dillon and Erik Jones.

NASCAR Cup Series -- All-Star Open Entry List

Twenty drivers are already qualified for Sunday’s All-Star Race. The drivers eligible are winners from the 2021 and 2022 seasons as well as full-time former All-Star winners and Cup champions.

Four multi-car teams have every driver entered in the 2022 All-Star Race: Hendrick (four), Joe Gibbs Racing (four), Team Penske (three) and 23XI Racing (two). Making the All-Star Race for the first time based on a points win are Daytona 500 champion Austin Cindric, Phoenix winner Chase Briscoe, COTA winner Ross Chastain (made last year’s All-Star Race after winning a stage in the Open) and last fall’s Talladega winner Bubba Wallace.

Kevin Harvick will make his 22nd consecutive All-Star start, while Kurt Busch makes his 21st. Mark Martin holds the record with 24 straight appearances.

AJ Allmendinger will drive the No. 16 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing. He’s locked in thanks to his win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course last summer.

NASCAR Cup Series -- All-Star Race Entry List

In the Xfinity Series, 39 cars will compete for 38 spots, meaning one car will fail to qualify for Saturday’s race.

Tyler Reddick is back in the No. 48 Chevrolet for Big Machine Racing. Jeffery Earnhardt slides back to the No. 26 Toyota for Sam Hunt Racing, his fourth start of the year for that program. Driving the Nos. 44 and 45 Chevrolets for Alpha Prime Racing will be Ryan Ellis and Stefan Parsons, respectively.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Entry List -- Texas Motor Speedway

The Truck Series entry list features 39 trucks competing for 36 spots, meaning three will fail to qualify.

Ross Chastain returns to the No. 41 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet. Ryan Preece will drive the No. 17 Ford for David Gilliland Racing. Garrett Smithley will pilot the No. 20 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Entry List -- Texas Motor Speedway

This weekend’s schedule and forecast

(All times Eastern)

Friday, May 20

Forecast: Windy with PM thunderstorms, potentially severe, high near 95 degrees, winds south at 20-30 mph, 50% chance of rain

  • 4 – 4:30 p.m. — Truck practice (FS1)
  • 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. — Truck qualifying (single vehicle, one lap, FS1)
  • 6 – 6:30 p.m — Xfinity practice (FS1)
  • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (single vehicle, one lap, FS1)
  • 8:30 p.m. — Truck race (147 laps/220.5 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Saturday, May 21

Forecast: Partly cloudy, chance of stray thunderstorm, high of 84 degrees, winds south to north at 15-25 mph, 23% chance of rain

  • 1:30 p.m. -- Xfinity race (167 laps/250.5 miles, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 7 - 7:35 p.m. -- Cup practice (two groups -- one for Open entries, one for All-Star, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 7:35 - 7:55 p.m. -- All-Star Open qualifying (single vehicle, one lap, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 7:55 - 8:25 p.m. -- All-Star Race qualifying, first round (single vehicle, one lap, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 8:25 - 9 p.m. -- All-Star Race qualifying, second round (pit battle, elimination bracket, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, May 22

Forecast: Partly cloudy, high 77 degrees, winds northeast at 10-20 mph

  • 5:30 p.m. — All-Star Open (50 laps/75 miles, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 8 p.m. -- All-Star Race (125 laps/187.5 miles, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)