NASCAR Cup Series drivers are gearing up for Wednesday night’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway (8:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Below is a primer for what’s sure to be a wild showdown under the lights at the .533-mile concrete Tennessee short track, which begins with the NASCAR All-Star Open at 7 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Bristol Motor Speedway is a .533-mile oval that held its first Cup Series event on July 30, 1961. For just the second time since the race’s inception in 1985, the NASCAR All-Star Race will be held away from the traditional stop at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The race was hosted at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1986, won by Dawsonville, Georgia native Bill Elliott.
The track’s concrete surface measures 650 feet long in the straightaways and the variable banking in the turns ranges from 24 to 28 degrees. The frontstretch is banked from 5 to 9 degrees and the backstraight is angled at a 4- to 8-degree tilt.
The 2020 NASCAR All-Star Race is comprised of four stages for a total of 140 laps; 55 laps to begin, two 35-lap stages, and a 15-lap dash to the finish.
The NASCAR All-Star Open will take place before the NASCAR All-Star Race and will include three segments — 35 laps, 35 laps and 15 laps. The winner of each segment will earn a spot in the All-Star Race as will as the winner of the Fan Vote.
The 16 drivers locked in for the 2020 NASCAR All-Star Race had their starting positions decided by a random draw.
Martin Truex Jr. will start from the pole position in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, joined on the front row by Alex Bowman in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. See the full lineup by clicking the link below.
Drivers who have already clinched an All-Star Race spot: Ryan Blaney, Bowman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Cole Custer, Chase Elliott, Justin Haley, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman and Truex Jr.
The winners of the three NASCAR Open segments and the All-Star Fan Vote recipient will start at the rear of the 20-car field.
There are three special experimental implementations that will be featured in Wednesday night’s All-Star Race. First, the paint schemes on the cars will feature a different look with the cars number location shifted backward toward the rear wheel on the side panels. The new look was approved after special request from teams, who will use the newfound real estate for bigger sponsor integrations.
Second, the cars locked into the All-Star Race will feature underglow lighting beneath the machines. The underglow lights were first used by Chip Ganassi Racing at Nashville during Champion’s Week 2019, adding a special flair to the Burnouts on Broadway event.
Finally, NASCAR officials will also implement a “Choose Rule” during Wednesday night’s Open and All-Star Race competition. The rule allows to choose which lane they want to restart in before the green flag. Drivers will approach a designated spot on the track and must commit to a lane. Failure to make a clear choice or changing lanes after the designated spot will result in a tail-of-the-field penalty.
The 2020 NASCAR rules package for short tracks will be in effect with a tapered spacer used to set a target of 750 horsepower. The cars will use a reduced downforce package with a shorter spoiler, a shorter splitter overhang and other aerodynamic changes.
NASCAR Cup Series teams will run the All-Star Race and All-Star Open on the same tire setup as what was provided for the first Bristol Motor Speedway event of the 2020 season at the end of May. The right-side tire code debuted on the concrete short track in May, while this will be the fourth event that the left-side tire code will be used here. Bristol is the only track one mile or less in length where teams are required to run inner liners on the right side.
Teams will be allotted four sets of Goodyear tires for the All-Star Race, while All-Star Open teams will be allowed three sets.
STATS TO KNOW
— Brothers Kyle and Kurt Busch have a firm grip on the top reaches of Bristol Motor Speedway’s win list among active drivers. Younger brother Kyle leads the way with eight Bristol wins, just ahead of Kurt’s six. Matt Kenseth, who recently rejoined the Cup Series full-time, is next on the list with four career wins at the Tennessee track. Darrell Waltrip’s 12 Bristol wins head the overall record book.
— Brad Keselowski is the most recent winner at Bristol Motor Speedway, winning the Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500 in May. Denny Hamlin earned victory after a late-race battle with Matt DiBenedetto to secure his second career win at Bristol in the annual night race last August.
— Martin Truex Jr. won the last Cup Series stop at a short track in the Blue-Emu 500 Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on June 10. Truex has won four of the Cup Series’ last six races on short tracks, including a season sweep last year at Richmond Raceway and a postseason triumph at Martinsville Speedway. The lone defeats in that stretch: A 13th-place outcome in Bristol’s night race last August, when he pitted with a flat right-front tire in the final stage, and a 20th-place finish in May.
— Hendrick Motorsports leads all organizations in several NASCAR All-Star Race categories. That includes most All-Star wins (eight), with Jimmie Johnson (four wins), Jeff Gordon (three) and Terry Labonte (one) contributing to the record total. Team owner Rick Hendrick has also had the most All-Star drivers (22), most All-Star top-five finishes (38) and All-Star laps led (713).
Source: NASCAR statistics, Racing Insights
Tune in to television coverage from Bristol Motor Speedway on FS1 (Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. ET) and the FOX Sports App. For full radio coverage, listen in to MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on-air.
RELATED: Ways to follow the races
For a more interactive experience, head over to NASCAR.com or the NASCAR app to check out an enhanced Race Center, live Lap-by-Lap coverage, the customizable live leaderboard with Scanner, and the return of Drive (featuring in-car cameras).
ACTIVE ALL-STAR RACE WINNERS
Jimmie Johnson (four); Kevin Harvick (two); Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman (one each).
ACTIVE BRISTOL WINNERS
Kyle Busch (eight); Kurt Busch (six); Matt Kenseth (four); Brad Keselowski (three); Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano (two each).