GFT Facts & Stats Friday: All-Star Weekend at North Wilkesboro Speedway

Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle
9 min readMay 17, 2024

17 May 2024
By Bob Francis, Managing Editor
Go Full Throttle Racing News

NORTH WILKESBORO, NC — NASCAR and Speedway Motorsports announced details for the 2024 NASCAR All-Star Race to be held on Sunday, May 19, for the second consecutive year at the newly paved North Wilkesboro Speedway. While the simplified format will return this season — featuring two heat races to set the All-Star Race starting lineup, a 100-lap All-Star Open, and a 200-lap main event — several new features will debut including a tire strategy element, a new Qualifying / Pit Crew Challenge format and pitting requirements. The spotlight will be on the stars of the sport as they take on the annual exhibition event for the grand prize of $1 million.

The signature new element in this season’s format centers around tire type and allotment. Potentially, three different tires will be utilized throughout the event weekend — a “prime tire” (the baseline tire assessed in the Goodyear Tire Test at North Wilkesboro Speedway), an “option tire” (slick tires, but made with the same rubber as the wet weather tire, making it a softer tire with more grip and faster wear) and “wet weather” (the wet weather tire only used if the track is wet). The ‘Goodyear Eagle’ lettering will be yellow on the prime tires, red on the option tires, and white on the wet weather tires.

A total of six of the 26 NASCAR All-Star Race winners are active this weekend:

NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Open

The Date: Sunday, May 19
The Time: 5:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $678,700
TV: FS1, 5 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 62.5 miles (100 Laps)

NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race

The Date: Sunday, May 19
The Time: 8 p.m. ET
The Purse: $3,784,525
TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 125 miles (200 Laps)

North Wilkesboro Speedway Track Facts
Track Length: 0.625-Miles Asphalt Oval
Race Length: 125 Miles (200 laps)
First Race: October 16, 1949
Banking in Corners: 14 degrees
Banking on Straights: 3 degrees

2024 NASCAR All-Star Open and All-Star Race Formats

This season’s NASCAR All-Star Weekend will be similar to last year with a simplified format — — featuring two heat races to set the All-Star Race starting lineup, a 100-lap All-Star Open, and a 200-lap main event — several new features will debut including a tire strategy element, a new Qualifying / Pit Crew Challenge format and pitting requirements.

Friday, May 17 — NASCAR All-Star Open Qualifying format is as follows:

· Two laps, the fastest lap counts
· Traditional qualifying session
· Qualifying results determine the starting lineup for the All-Star Open.
· Must be on prime tire

Friday, May 17 — NASCAR All-Star Race Qualifying format is as follows:

· Three laps, including pit stop
· Competitors will take green flag and run one full lap at speed, and on the second lap will proceed (maintaining pit road speed on pit road) to one of the two designated pit stalls for a four-tire stop, with mock fuel delivery.
· When the pit stop is complete, the cars will exit pit road (maintaining pit road speed), and race back to the checkered flag.
· Qualifying time will be the total elapsed time from green flag to checkered flag.
· Pole sitter will sit on the pole for Heat Race 1 and the All-Star Race.
· Must be on prime tire

Friday, May 17 — NASCAR All-Star Pit Crew Challenge format is as follows:

· Fastest pit stop
· The pit crew with the fastest pit stop during the NASCAR All-Star Race Qualifying attempt is the winner of the Pit Crew Challenge.
· Pit Crew Challenge results determine the order of pit picking.

Saturday, May 18 — NASCAR All-Star Heat Race 1 & 2 formats are as follows:

· Two Heat Races, 60 laps each (37.5 miles each).
· The 17 drivers already locked into the NASCAR All-Star Race field will be split into two 60-lap Heat races on Saturday night (May 18) which will determine the starting lineup for the All-Star Race.
· All laps (caution and green flag) will count. Each Heat race will get one chance at overtime if needed.
· Results of Heat 1 will establish the inside row for the All-Star Race, results of Heat 2 will establish the outside row for the All-Star Race.
· ‘All-Star Caution’ at or around Lap 30 of each Heat Race, with mandatory four-tire pit stop.
· The remaining teams not already locked into the NASCAR All-Star Race will compete in the All-Star Open.

Sunday, May 19 — NASCAR All-Star Open format is as follows:

· The All-Star Open on Sunday (May 19) will feature the 20 drivers not previously eligible for the All-Star Race.
· The All-Star Open will be 100 laps (62.5 miles).
· All laps (caution and green flag) will count. The Open will get one chance at overtime if needed.
· ‘All-Star Caution’ at or around Lap 50, with mandatory four-tire pit stop.
· Three Open drivers will advance to the All-Star Race — the top two race finishers and the Fan Vote Winner.

Sunday, May 19 — The NASCAR All-Star Race format is as follows:

· Technical rules for the cars will remain the same as other NASCAR Cup Series short track races.
· The NASCAR All-Star Race will be 200 laps (125 miles).
· Teams must start All-Star Race on option tire.
· Teams will have two sets each of primes and options. All four tires on the car must be of the same type at all times.
· All laps (caution and green flag) will count.
· NASCAR overtime rules are in effect (unlimited attempts).
· ‘All-Star Caution’ at or around Lap 100, and Lap 150.
· Each team must execute a four-tire stop during the Lap 100 ‘All-Star Caution’.
· All-Star Race winner earns $1 million.

Here are the 20 All-Star Open drivers vying for the three available positions in the NASCAR All-Star Race on Sunday:

All-Star Eligibility for 2024:
Those eligible for the NASCAR All-Star Race include drivers who won a points event in either 2023 or 2024, drivers who won a NASCAR All-Star Race and compete fulltime and drivers who won a NASCAR Cup Series championship and compete fulltime.

In total, 20 drivers will make a start in this season’s NASCAR All-Star Race — the 17 drivers that have earned a spot in the event, plus three additional positions that will be added to the NASCAR All-Star Race field following the All-Star Open — the All-Star Open Winner, the All-Star Open runner-up finisher and the Fan Vote Winner.

Driver Reviews of the North Wilkesboro repave — On March 13, a trio of NASCAR Cup Series drivers participated in a Goodyear Tire Test at North Wilkesboro and also shared positive comments on the revitalized track.

Joey Logano: “They did a good job, there’s still some character, it’s still a unique shaped race track, which is all good. There’s a pretty big bump down in turn one, I think where the wall was out too long and they cut it, and it’s kind of an interesting area. There’s a huge bump leaving four, which really kind of upsets the cars. I don’t think that’s bad. I’m OK with that. That’s something that made this racetrack so cool in the past, was that it had a lot of character, it was bumpy, you were forced to move around on it because it was challenging. You can make the thing like glass, I don’t know if that really makes the racing better. I think the fact that it’s got a couple of bumps and some areas where your drivers can make mistakes and jump out of the groove and do different things is just going to promote passing so that’s a good thing.”

William Byron: “I would say that if it was a mile-and-a-half track, I think it being a short track it would probably be a lot like Richmond was when they repaved it, so I don’t know, I vividly have seen some of those races and I feel like it was pretty treacherous, a lot of guys would get in crashes or there would be a lot of restart wrecks, so I think the racing could actually be pretty exciting with a repave on a short track, but yeah you won’t have the style of comers and goers I don’t think. The guys who are up toward the front will be racing hard and there’s probably just going to be more wrecks.”

“I’ll be here, I’m excited. I’m excited that we’re in the race. You never take that for granted, right? You have to win to be in this race. As a driver that’s one of the first things that comes to mind when you win the first race of the year, is ‘great, you know, I’m in the All-Star Race.’ It’s an honor to be in the race and is something you want to win. It’s a big, it’s not a crown jewel, but it’s a big race to have on your resume.”

Ty Gibbs: “The track is definitely a lot different with the repave, but I feel like they did a really great job with the repave. I’ve been to a lot of repaves and this is probably one of the best ones I’ve been to. And the way that they did it, they did a really great job. Just normal stuff for when we first come in here with the new repaves. It’s kind of a one-lane groove until it gets worn in. Testing, it’s really hard to get a good race feel for it, but I know that it’s going to be pretty cool and we’ll see what happens.”

“For sure, it definitely has taken some rubber. You can visually go out there and look at it, right? You can look at how different the line looks. It’s definitely a lot better, I don’t know a lot better, I’m fine with racing the old way or the new way. You just look at the track, and you can just look at it. It’s not all, it doesn’t look like a puzzle. There are some tracks on the schedule that they did repaves at, that it just looks like a mess out there. They did such a great job here. Kudos to them.”

Kyle Larson can achieve some pretty big accomplishments this weekend — Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson is on the cusp of a few records this weekend if he were to win the NASCAR All-Star Race on Sunday, May 19.

Kyle Larson currently leads all active drivers in NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race wins with three victories (2018, 2021 and 2023); which has him tied on the all-time wins list with NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon for second-most All-Star wins all-time. The trio of drivers are behind on NASCAR Hall of Famer Jimmie Johson with four All-Star Race wins (2003, 2006, 2012, 2013). If Larson were to win this weekend, he would tie Johnson for the NASCAR Cup Series most All-Star Race wins with four each.

Also, if Larson wins on Sunday, he will become just the third driver all-time to win consecutive All-Star races joining Davey Allison (1991, 1992) and Jimmie Johnson (2012, 2013).

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Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle

Go Full Throttle editors and reporters bring you news & commentary on NASCAR, F1, IndyCar, and World of Outlaws. Member: National Motorsports Press Association