Preview: The $1 Million Dollar Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race

The top NASCAR Cup Series drivers have a chance to win $1 million at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend. But who will be the one to claim the cash?

byT. Walker|
NASCAR photo


Who wants to be a millionaire? Most of the drivers racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race already are, but that won’t stop any of them from racing competitively. With a cool seven-figure purse on the line, a unique rules package that includes reduced speeds, and no mandatory pit stops, fans should expect entertaining racing from their favorite drivers during the premier series All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule for All-Star Weekend:

The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway

The Date: Saturday, May 19, 2018

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Open (Follow live)

Open Race Distance: 3 Stages: Stage 1 (20 laps), Stage 2 (20 laps), Final Stage (10 laps)

The Time: Approximately 6 p.m. ET

Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race (Follow live)

All-Star Race Distance: 4 Stages: Stage 1 (30 laps), Stage 2 (20 laps), Stage 3 (20 laps), Final Stage (10 laps)

The Time: Approximately 8 p.m. ET

TV: Fox Sports 1, 5 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Hashtag: #AllStarRace

Press Pass (Watch live)

Post-Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race: 9:30 p.m. ET

Listen: Any Competition?

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There are seventeen drivers qualified for the All-Star Race at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway. The field includes drivers who have a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race win in 2017 or 2018, and former All-Star Race winners that are still competing full-time as well as former Series champions are also eligible. Drivers that don’t meet these requirements have two ways to qualify for the All-Star Race. The drivers racing in the Cup Series All-Star Open can qualify and transfer to the All-Star Race by winning one of three stages in the Open or by winning the All-Star Fan Vote.

All-Star Race Qualifying Results / Starting Lineup

(Position, Driver, Manufacturer)

1. Matt Kenseth, Ford

2. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford

3. Clint Bowyer, Ford

4. Kevin Harvick, Ford

5. Martin Truex Jr., Toyota

6. Ryan Blaney, Ford

7. Kyle Busch, Toyota

8. Brad Keselowski, Ford

9. Austin Dillon, Chevrolet

10. Joey Logano, Ford

11. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet

12. Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet

13. Ryan Newman, Chevrolet

14. Denny Hamlin, Toyota

15. Kurt Busch, Ford

16. Kyle Larson, Chevrolet

17. Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet

The starting lineup was set by qualifying where drivers had limited practice beforehand due to weather. This made it anyone’s game, and thanks to NASCAR’s decision not to implement a pit road speed limit for the All-Star Race, we caught a glimpse of this weekend’s anticipated antics and witnessed wild pit stops during pole qualifying.

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Drivers racing in the Monster Energy Open:

 (Position, Driver, Manufacturer)

1. Aric Almirola, Ford

2. Erik Jones, Toyota

3. Alex Bowman, Chevrolet

4. Chase Elliott, Chevrolet

5. Paul Menard, Ford

6. William Byron, Chevrolet

7. Daniel Suarez, Toyota

8. Darrell Wallace Jr., Chevrolet

9. AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet

10. David Ragan, Ford

11. Chris Buescher, Chevrolet

12. Michael McDowell, Ford

13. Matt DiBenedetto, Ford

14. Ty Dillon, Chevrolet

15. Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet

16. Ross Chastain, Chevrolet

17. Landon Cassill, Chevrolet

18. Gray Gaulding, Toyota

19. BJ McLeod, Chevrolet

20. Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet

21. Timmy Hill, Toyota

Past 10 All-Star Race Winners

(Year, Driver, Manufacturer)

2008 Kasey Kahne, Dodge

2009 Tony Stewart, Chevrolet

2010 Kurt Busch, Dodge

2011 Carl Edwards, Ford

2012 Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet

2013 Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet

2014 Jamie Murray, Chevrolet

2015 Denny Hamlin, Toyota

2016 Joey Logano, Ford

2017 Kyle Busch, Toyota

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New Rules

NASCAR may have foregone pit road speed limits for the All-Star Race, but cars will be slower than normal at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Engine restrictor plates used during the race will reduce horsepower. As part of the new rule package, NASCAR Cup cars will also use OEM specific aerodynamic ducts and a 2014 style splitter with the current radiator pan. A six-inch high spoiler with two 12-inch ears on the rear deck will be visible.

All-Star History

The first All-Star Race was in 1985. During the early years, the race was appropriately named 'The Winston' for the series’ primary sponsor. NASCAR fans knew the race as 'The Winston Select' from 1994 to 1996. In 2004, NASCAR renamed the race to the 'Nextel All-Star Challenge' until Sprint bought Nextel. The race was known as the 'Sprint All-Star Race' from 2008 to 2016. Since then, the official name has transitioned to the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race.

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 6 DoYouKnowJack Ford, pits during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 18, 2018, in Charlotte, North Carolina., Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Out of all the veterans and start drivers in this season’s All-Star competition, who’s got the best shot of taking home the prize money? Kevin Harvick has won five races this season. Do you think he will keep his winning streak alive and win the main event? This weekend will be Matt Kenseth’s second race of the season. Can he defy the odds and take the checkered flag from the pole? It’s been over a decade since Kenseth has started in P1 for the All-Star race. He was the pole sitter in 2002 and 2017. Kenseth has one All-Star Race win in seventeen tries. If you were wondering, Harvick won the All-Star Race one time, in 2007. Like Kenseth, he also has raced in seventeen previous All-Stars. Jimmie Johnson is the most winningest driver of the contest with four wins.