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'Choose Rule' added to NASCAR All-Star Race

Jeff Birchfield • Jul 1, 2020 at 10:30 PM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — NASCAR and Bristol Motor Speedway announced Wednesday a “choose rule” and the format for the NASCAR All-Star Race on July 15.

The choose rule used at short tracks like Kingsport Speedway and Volunteer Speedway makes a driver commit to the inside or outside lane on the restart as he approaches a designated spot on the track. It adds more strategy than a traditional restart. For example at Bristol, it allows the second-place driver to choose the high side behind the leader on a restart instead of being stuck on the inside in the traditionally slower lane.

It will be the first time the rule has been used in one of NASCAR’s three national series — Cup, Xfinity or Trucks.

“There has already been an incredible amount of buzz around this year’s NASCAR All-Star Race with the move to Bristol Motor Speedway,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, in a release. “In addition to the thrilling racing we’re used to seeing at Bristol, the choose rule is going to add another dynamic to the race. Drivers and fans have been asking for this change, and I can’t think of a better time to try it than the All-Star Race.”

The race format will have four stages of 55 laps, 35 laps, 35 laps and a 15-lap dash for the million dollars. Only green flag laps count in the final stage, and if the race is restarted with two or fewer laps remaining, there will be unlimited attempts at a green-white-checkered finish.

“This NASCAR All-Star Race under the bright lights of Bristol is setting up to be a memorable event for ages to come,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway. “With a million dollar payout and no championship points on the line in this all out high-banked short track clash, it’s surely going to be a race that fans will not want to miss.”

The NASCAR Open at 7 p.m. will take place prior to the NASCAR All-Star Race at 8:30 p.m. broadcast on FS1. It will include three segments — 35 laps, 35 laps, 15 laps. The winner of each segment will earn a spot in the All-Star Race as well as the winner of the fan vote.

Another change involves the paint schemes as the car number moves from the door toward the rear wheel in an effort to give more exposure to the teams’ sponsors.

Those eligible for the NASCAR All-Star Race include: drivers who won a points event in either 2019 or 2020; full-time drivers who won a NASCAR All-Star Race and compete full-time; and full-time drivers who won a NASCAR Cup Series championship.

Drivers who have already clinched an All-Star Race spot are: Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Justin Haley, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr.

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