The NASCAR All Star Race is a fierce competition between the best drivers from the previous season and a half. You may notice that the drivers take the race rather seriously. So, when you watch the NASCAR All Star Race, you may therefore be wondering whether it counts for points.
The NASCAR All Star Race does not count for points. However, it does offer a $1 million payout, which explains why NASCAR drivers take the event so seriously. The Clash at the Coliseum is another event that does not pay drivers in points, but it does pay a large sum of money.
Below, we will provide details of what the NASCAR All Star Race is and why it’s so special. We will go over the race format and even touch on the history of the many formats the NASCAR All Star Race has had in the past. We will also discuss any other money races in the NASCAR season.
Do NASCAR Drivers Get Points For The All Star Race?
The NASCAR All Star race does not count for points. Instead, it is often referred to as a money-paying race. One reason drivers are so motivated to win the All Star Race is that NASCAR drivers typically do not earn as much as athletes in the four North American professional sports leagues. So, the prize money is very big deal.
So, although the NASCAR All Star Race does not count for points in the championship, it may account for a potentially significant boost to a driver’s annual earnings.
NASCAR All Star Race Prize Money
The NASCAR All Star Race prize money has been $1 million since 2003. Depending on the driver, this could end up earning them more than their salary, or at least a significant portion of it. The Pit Stop Challenge also awards an additional $100,000 to the team that wins it.
So how significant is the $1 million prize? In 2003, Jimmie Johnson reportedly earned $7.7 million, so his additional $1 million in the All Star Race that season comprised 13% of his salary. That’s a greater chunk than the $100,000 given to NBA players whose team wins the All Star Game, especially for those who earn a base salary well into the seven figures.
The only real downside is that NASCAR has not raised the $1 million purse, meaning it is not adjusted for inflation. So, as salaries rise, the $1 million becomes less significant if some of NASCAR’s higher-paid drivers win the All Star Race. But it’s still a million dollars!
KEY POINTS• The NASCAR All Star race is a money-paying race, rather than points-paying
• There is $1 million up for grabs for the winner
• This has been the cash prize since 2003
NASCAR All Star Race Format
The format for the NASCAR All Star Race comprises three stages of 25 laps each. The Stage 1 winner starts on the pole in Stage 4 (the final stage) if they maintain a finish of 15th or better in the later stages. The winner in Stage 2 starts second in the final stage if they maintain a 15th place finish in Stage 3, and the Stage 3 winner starts third.
The NASCAR All Star Race also holds a pit stop competition, and the driver who wins it will start fourth in the final stage if they finish 15th or better during Stage 3. The Special Stage Break Pit Stop Competition is a mandatory four-tire pit stop competition in which the driver who posts the fastest pit stop wins.
The final stage is a 50-lap race for the cash prize. Drivers must make a mandatory pit stop under caution flag conditions between laps 15 and 25. If there is no wreck or debris on the track that would bring out the caution, NASCAR then waves the yellow flag for a competition caution, dubbed the All Star Competition Caution.
A Brief History Of The NASCAR All Star Race Format
All Star Race Format Between 1985-2001
The NASCAR All Star race’s format is very different to the format of the normal races. But this was not always the case, as in 1985 and 1986, the race comprised just one segment of 70 laps. The drivers were required to pit once, so there was some strategy involved.
From 1987 to 1989, NASCAR adopted a three-segment event comprising 75 laps in segment one, 50 in segment two, and 10 green flag laps in segment three. This segmented event implies the potential origins of NASCAR’s overtime rule, which they would adopt in the 21st century, since none of the final 10 laps counted under yellow or red flag conditions. The 75-lap segment required one pit stop.
Between 1990 and 1991, NASCAR again reformatted the All Star Race to just two segments. This came from controversy regarding the final segment in two of the previous three seasons, much of which contained reckless driving. NASCAR mandated a ten-minute break between each segment.
Despite the controversies, NASCAR again went with a three-segment event in 1992, and it lasted until 1997. They still went with the 70-lap format, featuring two segments of 30 laps while the 10 green flag-lap dash returned. Between 1998 and 2001, NASCAR again tweaked the event, this time counting green flag laps only, regardless of the segment.
Formats In The 2000s
In 2002 and 2003, the NASCAR All Star Race underwent a radical format change, featuring a three-segment race for 90 laps with an attached elimination format, dubbing the event Survival of the Fastest, a nod to the hit reality television show, Survivor.
The first segment constituted nearly half of the race, featuring 40 laps and one mandatory four-tire pit stop. The top 20 cars advanced to the second segment, which ran for 30 laps. Finally, following a full-field inversion, the final 10 cars battled it out in 20 green flag laps.
Between 2004 and 2006, the format remained relatively the same, except NASCAR ditched the elimination portion. Following the 40-lap segment, NASCAR mandated a ten-minute break with random inversion at the end of the segment. Drivers were also required to make a four-tire pit stop between laps 13 and 16.
The second segment comprised optional pit stops, running for 30 laps. This meant that cars could lose track position if they opted to pit. Finally, they ran the final 20 laps under green flag conditions. 2007 saw the All Star Race evolve into a four-quarter segment. Each segment comprised 20 laps.
Following the first two quarters, prize money went to the top three finishers and pit stops were optional. Following the second segment, NASCAR instituted a halftime break, giving teams 10 minutes to make car adjustments before a 20-lap third segment and a final 20 green flag-lap fourth quarter. In 2008, they followed a similar format except the number of laps increased to 25 apiece.
From 2009, NASCAR kept the four-segmented race, but they split the first segment of 50 laps with a mandatory, four-tire pit stop halfway through. Following the segment, two 20-lap segments followed with an optional pit stop under caution in the second segment and a mandatory pit stop under caution following the third. The last segment called for 10 green flag laps.
Between 2012 and 2014, the NASCAR All Star Race cut down from 100 to 90 laps. However, the number of segments increased to five, featuring four segments of 20 laps and a final dash of 10 green flag laps. In 2015, the number of laps increased to four segments of 25 and a fifth segment featuring 10 green flag laps. In 2016, the number of final green flag laps increased to 13.
In 2017, the race was cut back down to just a 70-lap format before that number increased back to 93 in 2018, with an extra three laps occurring because of NASCAR’s overtime rule. This would occur again in 2019, with the race ending after 88 laps.
2020 saw the NASCAR All-Star Race migrate to Bristol for a one-off event because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This race lasted for 140 laps given Bristol’s smaller size, with Stage 1 going for 55 laps, Stages 2 and 3 for 35, and Stage 4 was a 15 green flag-lap sprint.
In 2021, the race made its move to the Texas Motor Speedway, and the inaugural event at the speedway comprised four stages of 15 laps apiece, Stage 5 lasting for 30 laps, and a 10-lap sprint in Stage 6.
NASCAR All-Star Race Over The Years
|1985-1986||Charlotte / Atlanta||1||70|
Does NASCAR Hold Other Money Races?
NASCAR’s preseason race, known as the Clash at the Coliseum, is another money-paying race that offers a total purse of $2 million. The Clash was historically held at Daytona, but starting in 2022, NASCAR once again traveled to a large metropolitan area to hold the event at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
A race inside a football stadium, huh? That’s correct. The quarter-mile track could not realistically hold 36 to 40 cars. But it does have an entertaining format, starting with a practice session before the drivers move on to single-lap qualifying. Qualifying determines the order for the following four heat races comprising 25 laps apiece, with nine cars in each heat race.
Each heat comprises specific orders. For example, the first heat takes cars that qualified first, fifth, ninth, 13th, 17th, 21st, 25th, 29th, and 33rd. The second heat comprises second, sixth, 10th, 14th, 18th, 22nd, 26th, 30th, and 34th. The third and fourth heats follow similar formats.
Drivers who finish in the top four in each heat advance to the Clash. The car that wins the first heat starts on the pole, the second starting in second, the third starting in third, and the fourth starts in the fourth position.
The rest of the starting positions are determined in a similar manner. So, if the driver in the first heat finishes second, they start in fifth. The driver who finishes second in the fourth heat starts in eighth, and so on.
Last Chance Qualifying And Race
Since 16 cars immediately advance to The Clash, 20 do not advance. This means the latter compete in an additional heat race (with 10 cars in each heat). The order that the cars finished in the previous day’s four heat races determines the starting order, so the better they finish, the higher their starting position.
Drivers who finish in the top three at each heat make up positions 17-22, and the driver that doesn’t advance to The Clash but finishes the highest in points among those who did not advance (across both heats) takes the 23rd and final position. Once the field is set, the 23 cars run the 150-lap Clash to determine who takes home the prize money.
The NASCAR All Star Race does not count for points. However, it does count for $1 million in prize money, which is why you may see NASCAR drivers taking it more seriously than many athletes in other North American sports take their respective All Star Games.