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In the foothills of the mountains of western North Carolina, in the very moonshine country where the sport began, there exists a time vault for the essence of stock car racing itself. Once buried and thought to be forgotten to time, this vault -- the North Wilkesboro Speedway -- now stands unearthed, restored, and prouder than ever. And for the second year in a row, this place rich in racing memories is going to make one of NASCAR's brightest stars a million dollars richer.

For the second year in a row, the NASCAR All-Star Race will take place this weekend at North Wilkesboro Speedway in Wilkes County, N.C., marking a new chapter in the rebirth of one of NASCAR's original racetracks. Under the same moon that once oversaw bootleggers elude the law, North Wilkesboro has become the new site of NASCAR's All-Star night, a special non-points event where the only stakes at hand are a cool $1 million prize to whoever takes the checkered flag first.

How to Watch the NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro

Date: Sun., May 19
Location: North Wilkesboro Speedway -- North Wilkesboro, N.C.
Time: 5:30 p.m. ET (All-Star Open), 8 p.m. ET (All-Star Race
Stream: fubo (try for free)

Race Eligibility

The NASCAR All-Star Race is open to all drivers who have won a points-paying Cup Series race during the 2023 or 2024 seasons, past All-Star Race winners who compete full-time, or past Cup Series champions who compete full-time. Eighteen drivers in total qualified for the All-Star Race, but just 17 of those will participate after Chicago winner Shane van Gisbergen did not enter the field. The following drivers are entered for the NASCAR All-Star Race:

  1. #1 - Ross Chastain
  2. #5 - Kyle Larson
  3. #6 - Brad Keselowski
  4. #8 - Kyle Busch
  5. #9 - Chase Elliott
  6. #11 - Denny Hamlin
  7. #12 - Ryan Blaney
  8. #16 - A.J. Allmendinger
  9. #17 - Chris Buescher
  10. #19 - Martin Truex Jr.
  11. #20 - Christopher Bell
  12. #22 - Joey Logano
  13. #24 - William Byron
  14. #34 - Michael McDowell
  15. #45 - Tyler Reddick
  16. #47 - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  17. #99 - Daniel Suarez

All drivers who have not already qualified for the All-Star Race will be eligible to make qualify through the All-Star Open, a 100-lap preliminary race that will see the top two finishers (plus the winner of the Fan Vote) advance to the All-Star Race. The following drivers are entered in the All-Star Open:

  1. #2 - Austin Cindric
  2. #3 - Austin Dillon
  3. #4 - Josh Berry (R)
  4. #7 - Corey LaJoie
  5. #10 - Noah Gragson
  6. #14 - Chase Briscoe
  7. #15 - Kaz Grala (R)
  8. #21 - Harrison Burton
  9. #23 - Bubba Wallace
  10. #31 - Daniel Hemric
  11. #38 - Todd Gilliland
  12. #41 - Ryan Preece
  13. #42 - John Hunter Nemechek
  14. #43 - Erik Jones
  15. #48 - Alex Bowman
  16. #51 - Justin Haley
  17. #54 - Ty Gibbs
  18. #66 - Timmy Hill
  19. #71 - Zane Smith (R)
  20. #77 - Carson Hocevar (R)

Tire Compounds

During All-Star weekend, race teams be allotted nine sets of tires will have three different tire compounds available to them. In addition to the "prime" tire, a standard compound developed following a tire test on North Wilkesboro's repaved surface in March, Goodyear will also bring an "option" tire -- made of a softer compound that has higher grip but wears much faster -- for teams to use strategically. In the event of rain, wet weather tires will also be brought to North Wilkesboro and be used if necessary.

Teams must use the prime tire during qualifying for both the All-Star Open and All-Star Race, but they will then have the ability to choose between starting on the prime or option tire for the heat races and the Open. All teams who start the All-Star Race will then have to start the race on the option tire. 

All teams will be allotted three sets of prime tires and two sets of option tires for practice, qualifying, heat races, and the All-Star Open. Teams in the All-Star Race will have two sets of option tires and two sets of prime tires available to them.

Tire compounds cannot be mixed, as all four tires on a car must be of the same compound at all times. The different compounds will be color-coded, with the Goodyear lettering being yellow on the prime tires, red on the option tires, and white on wet weather tires.

Qualifying and the Pit Crew Challenge

Qualifying for the All-Star Open will be a traditional qualifying session, with two laps (fastest lap counts) to set the starting positions for the Open. However, qualifying for the All-Star Race will be three laps including a pit stop, which will serve as NASCAR's annual Pit Crew Challenge. Drivers will take the green flag and run at full speed on their first lap, then on their second lap come to pit road (maintaining pit road speed) and to one of two NASCAR-designated pit stalls for a four-tire stop with mock fuel delivery.

Drivers will then leave pit road (maintaining pit road speed until pit exit), then re-enter the track and run full speed to the checkered flag. The total elapsed time from green to checkered flag will serve as each driver's qualifying time, the fastest driver will win the pole for both Heat 1 and the All-Star Race, and the pit crew with the fastest stop during their qualifying attempt will win the Pit Crew Challenge. Results of the Pit Crew Challenge will determine the order of pit stall selection.

The All-Star field will then be split in two for a pair of 60-lap All-Star heat races, with the first heat determining the inside row for the All-Star Race and the second heat deciding the outside row. All laps will count during heat races, with one attempt at an overtime restart if necessary. The heat races will feature an All-Star Caution at or around lap 30 with a mandatory four-tire pit stop.

All-Star Open & All-Star Race

The All-Star Open will be 100 laps, with all laps counting and one attempt at an overtime restart if necessary. An All-Star Caution will take place at or around lap 50, with a mandatory four-tire pit stop to follow. Teams will have the option to start the Open on either prime or option tires.

The All-Star Race will be 200 laps (all laps count) with normal overtime rules (unlimited attempts) in effect. There will be two All-Star Cautions, one at lap 100 and another at lap 150, with all teams required to make a mandatory four-tire pit stop at the lap 100 caution. All cars must start the All-Star Race on the option tire.

The winner of the All-Star Race will receive one million dollars.

News of the Week

  • NASCAR has announced the creation of an in-season tournament for 2025 to play out over the five races that will be broadcast by TNT. The top 32 drivers from the three seeding races leading up to the start of the tournament will be put in a bracket-style tournament, with drivers going head-to-head and the highest-finishing driver advancing through to each round. The winner of the in-season tournament will receive one million dollars. The first race of the in-season tournament will take place at Atlanta next June.
  • Following the lead of former series champion Shane van Gisbergen, two drivers from V8 Supercars in Australia have announced that they will be making their NASCAR Cup Series debuts next month at Sonoma Raceway. Cam Waters will drive the No. 60 Ford for RFK Racing, while Will Brown will drive the No. 33 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.
  • NASCAR announced Thursday that the sport's Championship Race weekend will return to Phoenix Raceway in 2025, marking the fifth year in a row that the track has hosted the championship events for the sport's three national touring series. Phoenix first began hosting the season finale in 2020 after it had been held at Homestead-Miami Speedway from 2002 until 2019.
  • NASCAR issued an L1-level penalty this week to the No. 1 JR Motorsports team in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, which violated Sections A (Inspection Re-Certification) of the NASCAR rule book at Darlington after officials found that the team had made a change to their car that would have necessitated them to go through the recertification process. Driver Sam Mayer and his team have been docked 10 driver and owner points, and crew chief Marty Lindley has been suspended for the next race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and fined $10,000.
  • Some sad news from the Daytona International Speedway, which announced Thursday the passing of Juanita "Lightnin'" Epton. Epton, who was 103, was the speedway's longest-tenured employee who worked the ticket office for every Daytona 500 from the inaugural event in 1959 until the 2024 race this past February.

Pick to Win

Ty Gibbs (+225, All-Star Open) – I'm going to get really, really bold: Right now, Ty Gibbs currently isn't qualified for the All-Star Race and will have to advance through the All-Star Open, where he currently has the top odds to win. But if he advances through the Open, I'm picking him to win the All-Star Race outright.

Gibbs came a restart away from winning the Clash back in February, was the class of the field on another short track earlier this year at Bristol, and he was a participant in a tire test at North Wilkesboro in March. Plus, he's coming off a career-best second at Darlington, the very sort of classic, demanding track that emphasizes driver skill and projects well to North Wilkesboro.

Not only that, but it's important to remember that the All-Star Race has twice been won by a driver who had to that point never won a points-paying Cup race. Michael Waltrip did it in 1996, and then Ryan Newman repeated the feat in 2002. This all hinges on Gibbs making it into the field through the Open, but if he does so, I would get in on his odds of winning the big show as soon as I can.