NASCAR Cup Series
By Zach Sturniolo
4 Minute Read
It’s time to fight for pride and not points as the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for the NASCAR All-Star Race on Sunday (8 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) with $1 million on the line.
This weekend’s iteration of the storied exhibition race marks just the third time All-Star weekend will be held away from Charlotte Motor Speedway as Texas joins Atlanta Motor Speedway (1986) and Bristol Motor Speedway (2020) as the only other hosts of the event.
Let’s dive into what makes this year’s version so unique down in Fort Worth, Texas.
RELATED: Weekend schedule
Eligible for this year’s All-Star contest are points-race winners from 2020-21, past All-Star winners who compete full-time and past Cup champions who compete full-time.
Everyone else will have to compete in the NASCAR All-Star Open on Sunday (6 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) if they want to make it into the main event.
Each of the three stage winners from the Open will advance into the All-Star Race, as will the winner of the fan vote.
RACK ‘EM UP
Kyle Larson is winning everything these days, and apparently the random draw to set the All-Star starting grid was no exception. Larson, who has won each of the last two races, will start from the pole alongside Kyle Busch. Behind them in Row 2 will be Daytona International Speedway road-course winner Christopher Bell and last year’s Kentucky Speedway victor, Cole Custer.
STARTING LINEUPS: All-Star Race | All-Star Open
In the Open, Tyler Reddick will lead the field to green alongside Chris Buescher, with Matt DiBenedetto and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in tow.
The All-Star Race will be split into six different stages this year that will total 100 laps.
Each of the first four stages will be 15 laps in length, followed by a 30-lap fifth stage before a 10-lap shootout takes the field to the checkered flag. A full breakdown of this year’s unique twists can be found here.
ALL-STAR RACE HISTORY
– The last eight All-Star Races have been won by eight different drivers, dating back to Jamie McMurray’s victory in 2013.
– This year’s edition marks the 37th running of this exhibition race. Darrell Waltrip won the inaugural event at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1985.
– Four drivers have won the All-Star Race after transferring in from the Open, most recently Kyle Larson in 2019.
– The only two times the All-Star Race has been held outside of Charlotte, an Elliott went to Victory Lane: Bill Elliott at Atlanta in 1986 and Chase Elliott at Bristol one year ago.
– 2021 marks the 22nd consecutive year Hendrick Motorsports has fielded at least three cars in the All-Star Race. The next longest streak is nine years, currently held by Joe Gibbs Racing and dating back to 2013.
– Hendrick holds a tight grasp around the All-Star Race with nine wins, 39 top fives and 64 top 10s in 116 starts among 23 drivers. The organizations with the next highest win totals in the event are Roush Fenway Racing and Richard Childress Racing, which each hold four.
Source: Racing Insights
The rules package this weekend will be similar to a normal 1.5-mile configuration but will feature smaller tapered spacers, reducing the size from 59/64th of an inch to 57/64th, setting horsepower targets in the 500-510 range.
This week’s tires are in line with what Goodyear brought to Texas last fall for the Cup Series’ playoff race in October. Because the track’s surface is so smooth, Goodyear aims for these tires to provide plenty of grip while also allowing for some wear.
“As of last fall, we have been able to adjust our right-side tread compound for the Cup cars to give them more grip as the track surface at Texas begins to age,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing. “This weekend’s NASCAR Cup All-Star race has a very racy format with four 15-lap segments followed by one 30-lap segment and concluding with a 10-lap sprint to the finish. Teams will have to manage their tires, getting four sets for those six segments, and balancing tire wear, track position, and the benefits of cooler, fresher tires.”
ALL ABOUT CASHING IN
“Yung Money” Kyle Larson is the favorite by a significant margin heading into Sunday night’s All-Star Race at 13-4 odds, according to BetMGM. The next closest on the radar is Martin Truex Jr. at 7-1 and Chase Elliott at 15-2.
If you’re looking for an underdog, consider Austin Dillon at 40-1 odds. Dillon won at Texas last summer and is currently posting the best average finish of his career at 13.0.
MORE: All-Star betting odds
ALL-STAR STORYLINES AND TRENDS
– Joey Logano and Kyle Busch hold the longest active top-10 streaks in the event with six straight, tying them with Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ken Schrader for third-most top 10s in All-Star history.
– Brad Keselowski (115 laps) and Ryan Blaney (77) are the only drivers to have led more than 57 total laps in their All-Star starts without a victory.
– Kyle Busch has led the most All-Star Race laps with 267 laps led.
– Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. are the only active Cup champions who not have won the All-Star Race.
ALSO ON NASCAR.COM
Get additional camera views by logging on to NASCAR Drive, where each week a select number of in-car cameras will be available — as well as a battle cam and an overhead look.
New for this season, NASCAR has partnered with LiveLike to add fan engagement in the NASCAR Mobile App. Log in to the mobile app during the race for polls, quizzes, the cheer meter and more — and see instant results from NASCAR fans like you.