Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NASCAR Notebook; Tough for Drivers to Plan an All-Star Strategy

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NASCAR Notebook; Tough for Drivers to Plan an All-Star Strategy

Article excerpt

The rules have changed for NASCAR's All-Star race so many times, drivers don't start thinking about a strategy until they get to the track.

Saturday's race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway will be among race winners from the 2016 and 2017 seasons, as well as former all-star winners and series champions from the past 10 years who still race on full-time basis. Winners of three different segments from the Open race among non-qualified drivers, as well as one voted in by the fans, will move into the main event.

The newest tweaks call for segments of 20, 20, 20 and a final 10-lap sprint among 10 drivers who move through the qualifying process.

Winners of the first three segments earn an automatic berth in the final 10-lapper. The other spots will go to the seven drivers with the highest average finishes from the three segments.

Each team will be given one set of softer tires to use at their discretion. If teams opt to use it for the final 10 laps - and most expect that since softer rubber has more grip - they must restart behind anyone still using their harder tires.

The only thing that hasn't changed is the driver who wins the final 10-lap segment will win $1 million.

"To be honest, I haven't even read the rules for the all-star race yet," driver Jamie McMurray said. "I think that's going to be interesting to see if the softer tire actually is quicker or do you not want that? I don't know the rules enough to know if you have to both of them in the race. So, yeah, it's going to be interesting weekend."

McMurray is one of 16 drivers already in the all-star race. Others are Chris Buescher, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Martin Truex Jr.

NO BRAGGING RIGHTS

One of the spoils from Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s first victory apparently wasn't getting any bragging rights with girlfriend Danica Patrick.

Stenhouse made a last-lap pass to win two weeks ago at the Talladega Superspeedway. In the process, he became the first in the relationship to win a Monster Energy Cup Series, race. …

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