With $1 million prize money up for grabs, pit strategy and winning at least one of the early race segments may be the deciding factor towards capturing the checkered flag in this year’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
The field will consist of race winners in 2011 and 2012, active Sprint Cup champions and All-Star Race winners from 2002 to 2011, and the top two finishers in Saturday’s Sprint Showdown warm-up. A 23rd and final spot will be awarded to one driver selected via fan voting. The fan favorite, as of today, seems to be Dale Earnhardt Jr.
This year, race officials have added a 5th race segment to make things more interesting. The last race segment will be a 10-lap sprint preceded by a mandatory pit stop.
Saturday schedule (EDT):
7:30 PM – Sprint Showdown which is two segments of 20 laps each; top two finishers transfer to All-Star Race
Approximately 9 PM – Sprint All-Star Race which is 5 race segments consisting of four 20-lap segments and a 10-lap shootout.
Advantage goes to the four segment winners because they get to line up at the front of the field coming to pit lane for the final pit stop before the final shootout (which is mandatory).
“It’s just going to be how everybody sets themselves up for that last pit stop,” said Steve Addington, crew chief for Tony Stewart. “The big key is going to be that segment win, so you can be at the front.”