NASCAR Cup Series
By Sean Montgomery
6 Minute Read
Everything you need to know for Sunday’s All-Star Open and All-Star Race, each a non-points paying exhibition.
Here are five big story lines we’ll be following at Texas Motor Speedway.
1. Sunday’s All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway is just the third time the Cup Series has held the race outside of Charlotte, N.C. (the other venues were Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1986 and Bristol Motor Speedway in 2020). Austin Dillon and Kyle Busch each won at the track last season and the younger Busch brother has won here three times in the last 10 races.
2. Can anyone keep pace with Hendrick Motorsports? Kyle Larson has dominated in recent weeks. Teammates Chase Elliott, William Byron, and Alex Bowman haven’t been far behind. Hendrick’s nine All-Star wins lead all organizations and they’ve also had the most top fives and laps led. All of the drivers in the Hendrick stable are expected to be frontrunners at the 1.5-mile Texas oval, especially with Larson starting on the pole. Want some good news for the field? Each of the last eight All-Star Races was won by a different driver. Elliott is the defending winner and Larson claimed victory in 2019.
3. Pit crews better be on their game this weekend. A major bonus depends on it. $100,000 to be exact. That money will go to the team with the fastest Round 5 pit stop – learn all the details and procedures for timing.
4. Since 2010, only two drivers have won the All-Star Race and Cup Championship in the same year – Chase Elliott (2020) and Jimmie Johnson (2013). The feat has only been accomplished 11 times between six drivers, the others being Johnson (2006), Jeff Gordon (1995, 1997 and 2001), Dale Earnhardt (1987, 1990 and 1993), Rusty Wallace (1989), and Darrell Waltrip (1985). Could this year add to the list?
5. Joey Logano and Kyle Busch have both been climbing the ranks of most consecutive top-10 finishes in the All-Star Race, each with six – tying them with Ken Schrader, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Denny Hamlin, while trailing only Dale Earnhardt (seven) and all-time leader Matt Kenseth (nine).
Our biggest pieces of the week – get covered for race day from all angles.
– Power Rankings: Can anyone stop Larson from claiming his second $1 million check? | Scope the ranks
– Paint Scheme Preview: Stars and schemes are out this weekend | See the schemes
– Preview Show: Jonathan Merryman and Alex Weaver preview the race | Watch the show
Think you know NASCAR? Put your mettle to the test with weekly gaming.
– Betting odds for All-Star Race | See the odds
– Did you bet on Alex Bowman? | See how Bowman’s preseason long-shot odds might pay off
– Usual suspect draws early money | Find out who
Every All-Star race has a story to tell — and a big bonus for the winner. Here’s what we’ve seen go down in the past.
– One for the history books: Best All-Star Race moments | See the moments
– Winner, winner: All-time All-Star Race winners | See the list
– Just one pass away: Second-place finishers finally have their moment | All-Star runners-up
– Finish first with the fans:See the winners of the All-Star Race Fan Vote through the years | Fan Vote winners
Hard-hitting, race-relevant statistics, brought to you by the experts at Racing Insights.
– Ryan Newman was the last Cup Series rookie to win the All-Star Race, doing so in 2002. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the only other driver to do so.
– Hendrick Motorsports holds the longest streak for most consecutive All-Star Races with at least three cars – 22 (2000-2021).
– Kyle Busch has led the most All-Star Race laps all-time (271) but only has one win. Jimmie Johnson holds the all-time record with four.
– In 2018 at 42 years, five months, and eleven days old, Kevin Harvick became the fourth oldest winner in the All-Star Race.
– Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney are the only drivers to lead over 57 laps in the All-Star Race without a win.
Read up on all the headlines from the week leading up to Sunday’s race.
– Track access: Updates to protocols and procedures as COVID-19 restrictions ease | Read more
– Petty’s new show: Kyle Petty gears up for conversations with personalities, blending cars and local eats | See the teaser
– New chief on the box: Johnathan Hassler takes charge of the No. 21 | Read more
– Stepping away from FOX?: Jeff Gordon weighing options for future | Read more
– Kurt Busch’s next steps: Why a potential move to 23XI Racing could be in the cards | Read more
Notable quotes from the stars of the sport heading into Sunday’s race.
“We won Texas (Motor Speedway) last year, so going to Texas for the All-Star Race, we’re pretty confident. We feel like we have it setup that if we get in the right place on the track, that we can win with. The confidence is high and the chance to win a million dollars, you don’t get that very often. We’re locked in the race and we’re headed down there, we might as well take some money home after the trip. I’m looking forward to it. We’re going down there for one reason and that’s to win a million dollars.” — Austin Dillon, driver of the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, on returning to Texas Motor Speedway.
“The format, it’s like a recipe. You can make cookies many different ways and in the end you still have a cookie. Not everybody is gonna like that cookie, but there’s a chance you’re gonna like it. I really don’t know that I have one, to stop talking about cookies and making myself hungry, I know that the way I won it eliminated the competition, but, in reality, that competition is eliminated anyway. You’re not gonna go from 20th to first in 10 laps. It just doesn’t happen, so it kind of is what it is and we deal with the ingredients that NASCAR provides for the All-Star Race going into it and you just do your best to try to make up for what you’re lacking, whether it’s track position, starting position, things like that and make a good day out of it.” — Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, on the changes to the All-Star Race format.
“I want to go race with my heroes. I want to race with the guys I’ve looked up to. But I can only do what the car can do, and I can only do what my capabilities are. … Like, I’m good (with the rules package). It’s the same for everybody. I know we’re bringing the best race car we can. We’re not shorting anything. We’re not taking it lightly this week.” — Ross Chastain, driver of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, on driving aggressively in the exhibition race.