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Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race 101: What you need to know

NASCAR’s much-anticipated Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race is set for May 19 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), and now we know both the format and the rules package.

Both key components were unveiled April 11 on “Race Hub.” We’re here to break down the key questions you may have.

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What’s the biggest change this year?
The rules package the cars will run. Restrictor plates will be in use at 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway, along with a 6-inch high spoiler (with two 12-inch ears), a 2014 style splitter and aero ducts.

What does all that mean?
It’s designed to promote passing and tight competition. It’s very similar to the package the NASCAR Xfinity Series used at Indianapolis last year, a race which set a record number of leaders and lead changes.

What is the technical advantage of this package?
The entire package is designed to give the trailing car more of an aerodynamic advantage. You’ll see more slingshot-style moves and passes for the lead. 

A graphic of the All-Star Race rules package
Graphic by NASCAR Creative Design

Let’s talk format. What is it?
Four stages comprise the event. Stage 1 ends on Lap 30; Stage 2 ends on Lap 50; Stage 3 on Lap 70; and Stage 4 on Lap 80.

What about NASCAR Overtime?
NASCAR Overtime will be in effect for ALL stages. Stages will not end under yellow.

Are there mandatory pit stops?
Nope. Pitting is totally in the hands of each individual team this year.

Will the field be reset or inverted for Stage 4?
Again, no. This is where strategy comes into play. You might see some weird pitting toward the end of Stage 3 as a play for track position in Stage 4.

Anything else I should know about for the final stage?
Only green-flag laps will count in Stage 4.

How is the field set?
The field of drivers currently is comprised of all 2017 and 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race winners, former All-Star Race winners competing full time and former Monster Energy Series champs competing full time.

How many drivers is that?
For now,  17.

For now?
Yeah. That number will change. It includes the recently retired Matt Kenseth, for example.

Is there any other way to qualify?
Yes. The winners of Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3 in the preceding Monster Energy Open event will advance into the All-Star Race. And of course, there is the annual Fan Vote, the winner of which makes the big show.