All year long, NASCAR has seemingly the same routine every single week for the top-tier series. Unload, go through inspection, fix issues, then head to practice. Once practice is over, prepare for qualifying, through inspection again, and hope to advance past the first round.
Sometimes, the last practice comes before qualifying, but when it comes after, it’s the same process.
Then race day, it’s warm up, make any final adjustments, get through inspection once again, then finally get to the actual racing.
There is really no “fun” weekend for NASCAR under normal circumstances, because the teams are dealt the same cards pretty much every week. But, for one time a year, things are a lot different. In fact, it seems to be different every single year.
Lap count, processes, decisions, and even “options” get handed out for one race a year. No points, no consequences, but a big payout to take the checkered flag.
The Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race has seen dominance, fights, surprises and controversy. This year, it has a sense of normalcy, as the format does have segments, but there’s no requirement for when to pit, how many tires to take, nor inversions/averages to determine positioning. They have instituted the overtime rule for each segment, which is different than any other weeks.
But, what is the most notable difference is the cars themselves. A 2o14 splitter setup, valance, and an enormous spoiler were the tips of the iceberg. Add on a restrictor plate, and it becomes something that no driver has experienced in one of these cars before. The hope: create more passing, more action, and excitement in a race that in the last few years has not seen as much excitement as in the past.
That idea got me, and a few of the Horsepower Fantasy League participants thinking, and the question was then posed to everyone. Instead of the France family and other NASCAR officials making the decisions on how to setup this event, we were given the freedom to set it up how we desired, to possibly test how good the teams really are, and who can really drive a car when things suddenly are changed.
This concept was then asked to the League, and this is what a few of them decided on.
Misan Akuya: Shootout, Front to Back, then Back to Front
If I could make the All Star Format, I know that I could add excitement to this race. Four segments, 100 laps, 30-30-30-10 breakdown.
- Segment One: Caution with five laps to go, setting up for a five lap shootout. Caution laps do not count.
- Segment Two: Top six cars must either stay out or pit and start in the rear no matter what.
- Segment Three: Bottom six cars start up front no matter if they pit or not. The rest of fields starts where they come out of the pits.
- Segment Four: Top six are guaranteed a top ten starting spot after pit stops, but it will be jumbled up. Rest of the field will line up in the order that they came out of pit road.
I’ll be waiting for my check.
Rob Blount: Runner-up must PAY UP
I wouldn’t change laps or segments or anything like that. I’d keep all of that the same. These guys are all rich. The front runners all have massive houses, a thousand cars. Some have helipads at their house on Lake Norman. $1 million is cool, but their already millionaires.
So here’s what I would do…second-place pays the winner $1 million from their own pocket.
One of two things will happen. Either A, the battle for the win is an intense one, or B, everyone stops in turn four because they don’t want to finish second. The other thing I’d do is let the race be entirely a “run what you brung” style of race. No pre-tech. No post-tech. Do literally whatever you want.
Billy Fellin: A new experience
If I had control of the All-Star Race, I’d put the teams in sports cars, like the ones that run the Rolex 24. Let Logano and Keselowski run around in a Mustang, for instance. I’d set them loose on Charlotte’s Roval.
Three segments, 40-40-80. No special rules or anything like that. Just go race something none of them are all that experienced in.
Ashley Hobbs: Crews headline a new location
Well, the race is about the all-stars of the sport. Almost half the field gets in somehow, so I would start with eligibility rules to those who won a race in the past year (re won in 2018 or 2017 after the All-Star race). Get rid of the past champions aspect; he has likely won a race anyway. I say keep the fan vote, because that is technically an all-star of the people; and the people are the sport.
I think a format that involves more on the pit crew would be great as well. But, this would mean the pit crews get to use their own equipment, not the NASCAR delegated stuff. This is a race for teams to show off; not just the driver to show off. I like that this year’s format bring back pit crews for the stops – team effort! To put the light on the teams, after each stage, there must be a pit stop (4 tires). This will make sure the drivers are doing their thing and the teams are doing their thing as well.
Speaking of stages, it all depends where the All-Star race is held. The race needs to move; fans have said it, and drivers have said it. Sure, it must be nice for the drivers to be home for a few weeks, but Charlotte Motor Speedway has run its time with the All-Star race. No matter the changes made, the racing is just not good. If they wanted to use the Roval, that would be a great first step in making an improvement. Heck, why they didn’t use the All-Star race as a test for the Roval appearing in the playoffs seems like a missed opportunity. But stages depend on the track, but in general, there will be short run segments and long run; and those lengths depend where we are.
Dustin Parks: One Track, Two Ways
I’m sort of going with an idea from my Monster Jam experience in this one. Alright, stick with me here.
We have been running at Charlotte all but one year for the All-Star Race. Drivers know the layout, and are pretty much expecting to run the car as normal. But, what I’m thinking is the teams actually have to do like they do at Daytona…two different cars. Anyone confused yet?
Alright, we all know that when it comes to the opening speed weeks at Daytona, teams cannot run the car they used in The Clash in the 500. However, they can use it as one of the backups if desired. So, we have one team, two different cars.
With Charlotte using the “Roval” in October, what got me thinking is a 75-lap race. First two segments are 30 laps, run on the normal track.
Then, when the second segment ends, no pit stops, but instead an intermission like in hockey. Drivers then will get out of the car they just raced in, and make their way to the garage to a second car…yes, a SECOND car. These cars will be set up to run the road course, and will have different colored tires to designate them as the road course cars. Drivers then have to immediately get into a different racing mentality, because at the same time, track officials are making changes so the teams will run the second track for the final segment. Like always, only green-flag laps count, and overtime rules are in play.
Three segments, two tracks, one winner. Hey Brian France…wonder if this could be a consideration?
Let’s see how this rules package runs tomorrow at 8 p.m. Maybe we’ll learn something.