Editor’s note: This story was first published on April 17, 2019.
NASCAR is offering a potential look into the future with the technical specifications for the May 18 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), announced jointly by the sanctioning body and Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The cars will feature two new technical elements that the sanctioning body may incorporate into the series’ Generation-7 stock car that is slated to debut in 2021. The event also will be five laps longer than the previous year’s running, increasing from 80 to 85 total laps split among four stages.
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The first new technical component is a single-piece carbon fiber splitter/pan that is expected to offer dramatic improvements in ride-height sensitivity for competitors. The splitter also should provide a more stable aero platform and create a more consistent performance in traffic.
“We’re looking forward to bringing two major elements that we’re looking at and evaluating for our Gen-7 car,” Senior Vice President of Racing Innovation John Probst told NASCAR.com. “This will be a good chance for us to see this in real race conditions.
“ … Nowadays we have a flat splitter that has the teams chasing control of their ride heights a lot, which gets pretty expensive. It also makes the sweet spot, if you will, for the setup narrow. It’ll be very visible to the folks watching at home on TV or in the stands. The whole idea behind that is actually just trying to open up the window for a good setup for our teams.”
The second All-Star element requires cars to be configured with a radiator exit duct through the hood. This will separate aerodynamic performance and engine temperatures, creating more parity across the field.
“Throughout its history, the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race has provided a platform to try new and innovative ideas, some of which we have incorporated on a full-time basis,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “Last year’s All-Star rules package resulted in one of the most exciting All-Star races in history. With a similar package and added elements that we could see in the next generation race car, we expect another must-watch event.”
Last year’s race featured a rules package that incorporated higher downforce and special aero ducts, which led to 38 green-flag passes. Teams also used restrictor plates for the first time at Charlotte as well as a splitter borrowed from the 2014 rules package, a 2018 radiator pan and a 6-inch tall spoiler with two “ear” extensions measuring 12 inches wide. That rules package became the basis for the primary 2019 rules package.
The 2019 All-Star Race will have four stages, with a five-lap increase in the final stage from last year’s event. The stages will last 30 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps and 15 laps. Green- and yellow-flag laps will count in Stages 1-3, while only green-flag laps will count in the final stage.
NASCAR Overtime rules will be in effect for Stages 1-3. For the final stage, if the race is restarted with less than two laps remaining, there will be unlimited attempts at a green-white- checkered finish under green-flag conditions.
The showcase event has $1 million on the line for the race winner. Kevin Harvick is the defending race winner.
The Monster Energy Open will be held earlier that evening (6 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and will feature a three-stage format of 20 laps, 20 laps and 10 laps. The winner of each stage earns a spot in the All-Star Race.
To be eligible for the Monster Energy All-Star Race, a driver must have won a points-paying event in 2018 or 2019. The race is also open to full-time drivers who are former winners of the Monster Energy All-Star Race or past Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champions. Drivers who have yet to qualify can still earn their spot through the Monster Energy Open or the Fan Vote, which is now open on NASCAR.com.
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To date, 15 drivers (listed alphabetically) have qualified for the event: Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr.