NASCAR has revised the format for the 26th running of its All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which will once again feature a 10-lap shootout as its final segment along with a mandatory four-tire pit stop.
The Sprint All-Star Race, set for May 22, will consist of four segments, concluding with a 10-lap sprint and a $1 million payout to the race winner. There's an added twist this year before the green flag drops for the final segment: Once the field takes a lap behind the pace car, all cars must enter pit road for a four-tire stop. The order in which the cars exit off pit road is how they will line up for the final 10 laps, placing an even greater premium on the efficiency of the pit crews.
The 2010 format is as follows:
• 50 laps with a mandatory green-flag pit stop on lap 25, at which time teams must pit and take on four tires. Following the end of Segment 1, the caution flag will be displayed for an optional pit stop.
• 20 laps with the caution flag displayed at the end of Segment 2 for an optional pit stop.
• 20 laps with a 10-minute break at the end of Segment 3. Teams may make normal adjustments to their cars during this break. The finishing order after the third segment determines the field's lineup for the pace lap prior to the start of the fourth segment.
• Once the field takes a lap behind the pace car, all cars must enter pit road for a four-tire stop. The order in which the cars exit pit road is how they will line up for the 10-lap shootout with only green-flag laps counting.
"We saw last year just how competitive this format can be, with Tony Stewart battling Matt Kenseth for the win on the final couple of laps," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. "With the addition of the four-tire pit stop, there is going to be even greater competition between the pit crews on who can get their driver serviced and out the quickest. I think the fans are in for quite a show."
Mark Martin, a two-time All-Star Race winner, is looking forward to competing in his 21st all-star event this year, which is the most of any driver. "I love the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race as much as the fans do," Martin said.
The eligibility standards for the All-Star Race remain the same: race winners from either the 2009 or 2010 season through May 16 or any winners of the all-star event or Cup Series champions (during the previous 10 years). In addition, the top-two finishers in the Sprint Showdown, a 40-lap preliminary race, and the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote, all advance into the All-Star Race lineup. Joey Logano won the fan vote last year.