On Thursday, NASCAR and Speedway Motorsports announced the details for the 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race, which will see NASCAR’s National Series return to North Wilkesboro for the first time since 1996, on Sunday, May 21st.
The festivities will include a pit crew competition, a pair of heat races to set the starting lineup, a 100-lap All-Star Open, and a 200-lap main event, which is guaranteed to shine a spotlight on the historic 0.625-mile facility.
The All-Star Open, featuring drivers not yet eligible for the All-Star Race, will be 100 laps in length with a competition break at or around Lap 40. The top-two finishers in the event, as well as the Fan Vote winner, will find themselves locked into the field for the event.
“As we celebrate our 75th anniversary, it’s important for NASCAR to honor our history while moving towards the future,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR chief operating officer. “The combination of the Next Gen cars on one of NASCAR’s first – and most exciting – tracks will deliver a full weekend of racing that fans will not forget. While the All-Star Race has previously been used to test new formats and technologies, we wanted this year’s format to showcase the historic return of NASCAR to North Wilkesboro Speedway.”
NASCAR’s annual All-Star Race will get underway on Friday, with a Pit Crew Challenge, which will determine the starting lineups for both the heat races and the All-Star Open, with each car’s qualifying time being based solely on pit stop time. In doing so, each team must complete a four-tire stop. Timing lines will be established one box behind and one box ahead of the designated pit box for Friday’s pit crew competition.
The drivers already locked into the NASCAR All-Star Race will be split into two groups, and pitted against each other on Saturday night, to determine the starting lineup for the All-Star Race.
Results of the first heat race will establish the inside row, while the results of the second heat will establish the lineup on the outside row. The action-packed weekend will conclude on Sunday with both the All-Star Open and All-Star Race.
“This format has an old-school, short-track feel to it—just like it should be for a return to North Wilkesboro,” said Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith. “Dale Jr. had some fantastic ideas and it was fun to work with him alongside NASCAR to pull this all together. I’m thankful for Dale’s passion for this entire project and I think we’ve landed on something that both the fans in the stands and those watching on television will absolutely love. We want everyone after the race to smile and say ‘Wow, that was fun!’”
The action will conclude on Sunday with the NASCAR All-Star Race, which will be 200 laps in length, with a competition break at or around the halfway point of the race. All laps will count in the event, both green and caution, and normal NASCAR Overtime rules will be in effect.
“The star of this year’s All-Star Race is the track,” said NASCAR Hall of Famer and NBC Sports Analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. “The history, the nostalgia, the surface – just being back at North Wilkesboro. People have wanted traditional racing back at North Wilkesboro for decades, and that’s what’s most important – that’s what this format delivers. The Pit Crew Challenge puts a lot of pressure on the teams, and with a 100-lap Open and a 200-lap All-Star Race, I’m excited to sit back alongside the fans and watch the racing we’ve all wanted for a long time.”
The specifications for the cars in the NASCAR All-Star Race will remain the same as the other rules on NASCAR Cup Series short tracks. Those eligible for the event include drivers who won a race in 2022 or 2023, drivers who have won the All-Star Race and compete full-time, as well as drivers who won a NASCAR Cup Series title and compete for full-time.
Drivers who have already clinched an All-Star Race spot: Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Chase Briscoe, Chris Buescher, Kyle Busch, William Byron, Ross Chastain, Austin Cindric, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Tyler Reddick, Daniel Suarez, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Martin Truex Jr. and Bubba Wallace.