It’s the All-Star Race, baby!
The annual showcase pitting the brightest stars in NASCAR against each other under the lights is moving from Charlotte Motor Speedway to Bristol Motor Speedway, it was announced Monday evening on FOX Sports 1’s NASCAR Race Hub. The July 15 race at the world’s fastest half-mile will include a limited number of fans in attendance and will air at 7 p.m. ET on FS1, FOX Deportes, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
“The NASCAR All-Star Race is an event known for making history, and we will enhance that legacy by hosting the event at Bristol Motor Speedway,” Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith said in a release.
“While Charlotte will always be recognized as the birthplace and traditional home for the All-Star Race, the current data surrounding the pandemic in North Carolina makes Bristol a better option for fan access this summer,” Smith added.
The first All-Star Race took place in 1985 — won by Darrell Waltrip — and has been held at Charlotte Motor Speedway every year but one. In 1986, Bill Elliott bested Dale Earnhardt at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but the event returned the next year to Charlotte, which is considered the home track for drivers.
“We are excited to take one of the most unique races in our sport to one of the most unique race tracks in our sport,” NASCAR Executive Vice President of Racing Development Steve O’Donnell said in a release. “Bristol Motor Speedway puts on classic short-track action every time we race there, and we’re anticipating an elevated level of intensity for the NASCAR All-Star Race.”
The drivers will still compete for a $1 million prize. Additional details on the format will be announced at a later date.
Meanwhile, the Fan Vote opens today for eligible drivers who have not yet qualified for the event. Fans can go here starting at 7 p.m. ET to vote for their favorite driver. Whoever gets the most votes and doesn’t clinch a spot in the All-Star Open will advance to the main event.
Fifteen drivers are qualified so far for the event: Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliot, Justin Haley, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr.
The track announced 30k fans will be able to attend.
“Our passion is to entertain people, and we’re going to be able to entertain fans at Bristol Motor Speedway,” Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith told NASCAR Race Hub Monday.
“This will be the biggest event with spectators, really since the (COVID-19) pandemic started. The state of Tennessee has given us approval to host up to 30,000 NASCAR fans at this year’s NASCAR All-Star Race. We are thrilled and for us, it’s all about us bringing fun and building memories that last a life time, and we think you can do it at Bristol.”
O’Donnell said that he’s heard the fans wanting more short tracks. So he gave them one.
“You all are on Twitter, and I get hammered every day on, ‘More short tracks, please,” O’Donnell said during a news conference Monday night. “So here you go.
“All the teams recognize this is an opportunity for us to showcase our sport, to do something we’ve always talked about and let’s take a chance and see how it works.
“I couldn’t be more excited. I think the whole industry is ready to go.”