CONCORD, N.C. It's NASCAR race night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and we've got some essential information you need to get ready for tonight's Sprint All-Star Race.
RACE DISTANCE/RULES: The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race is 90 laps around the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway for a total of 135 miles. The race is divided into five segments: Four segments of 20 laps each, followed by a 10-race shootout. The drivers' average finishing positions in each segment sets the order for a mandatory four-tire pit stop before the final segment.
NATIONAL ANTHEM: Country music star Darius Rucker will sing the national anthem before tonight's race.
RYAN: Irrelevant race needs makeover
TV/RADIO SCHEDULE: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast tonight's race and has a pre-race show beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will call the race on the radio.
WEATHER: The National Weather Service is calling for a slight chance of showers before 9 p.m., but otherwise mostly cloudy skies with temperatures in the low 60s for the race.
LAST TIME: Jimmie Johnson took advantage of a bad pit stop by Kurt Busch's team and cruised in the 10-lap shootout to win his second consecutive All-Star Race.
GLUCK: Four drivers who could win their first All-Star Race
STARTING LINEUP: We don't know yet. Starting this season, qualifying for the All-Star Race (three laps with a mandatory four-tire pit stop) will take place on the day of the race. All drivers, including those who advanced through Friday night's Sprint Showdown and the fan vote -- Clint Bowyer, AJ Allmendinger and Josh Wise -- will participate in qualifying (7:10 p.m. ET).
Busch is second to Johnson in All-Star race laps led (201) among active drivers. But he's never won an All-Star race or any Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte in 28 tries. Busch is clearly capable of going to victory lane, given his Charlotte success in other series: Eight Nationwide wins and five Truck wins. Perhaps Saturday could be the time when $1 million helps him forget high-profile clashes in the All-Star Race with brother Kurt (2007) and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin (2010).
Tied with Busch for the most All-Star top-10s (four) without a win, Hamlin could continue to show his team is headed in the right direction following a key win at Talladega Superspeedway two weeks ago. Though he has never won a points race at Charlotte, Hamlin has seven-top-10s in a row there dating to 2010.
The Team Penske driver is Charlotte's most recent winner he went to victory lane in October's Bank of America 500 for his only win of the 2013 season. But Keselowski hasn't had much All-Star success. His average finish of 13.2 rates as one of the worst among the drivers in Saturday night's race this despite a second-place finish in 2012. He completed just two laps in last year's race before a transmission problem took him out. Surely, the 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion's All-Star fortunes will improve at some point.
Though he's only been in three All-Star Races, Logano has the best average finish of any driver (4.3). He's already won two races this season and Team Penske is strong on intermediate tracks such as Charlotte -- Logano has finished first and fourth in the past two 1.5-mile track races, respectively. It wouldn't surprise anyone if Logano continued his strong year by winning on Saturday night.
Here are the drivers who have qualified for the All-Star Race:
Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, David Ragan, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Brian Vickers, Martin Truex Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, AJ Allmendinger and Josh Wise.
Follow Gluck on Twitter @jeff_gluck
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