Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, TX — June 13, 2021
Sunday night, under the lights, it’s the NASCAR All-Star Race from Texas Motor Speedway. No points, no playoff implications, just $1 Million Dollars to the winner. Get ready for some all-out, anything-goes racing. It starts with the NASCAR Open.
The NASCAR All-Star Open
NASCAR operates under a “charter system,” 36 cars are guaranteed a start at every point race of the year by owning a charter (franchise). All 36 cars are required to race in the All-Star event. The criteria for eligibility in the “Main Event” includes NASCAR Cup Series race winners in 2020-21 and full-time drivers who are either past All-Star winners or past Cup Series champions.
A total of 17 drivers have already clinched All-Star berths: Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, William Byron, Cole Custer, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, Ryan Newman, and Martin Truex Jr.
The Open includes the remainder of the charter owning teams and any driver in the standings wishing to enter a car. It will be run in three segments with the winner of each segment advancing to the Main Event. A fourth driver will be added from the highest finishing driver in the fan vote who has not earned a starting spot otherwise.
The All-Star Race
The rules for the All-Star race are designed to bring the most excitement to the fans. Here are the details.
- Starting lineup set by random draw. Kyle Larson sits on the pole.
- Round 1: 15 laps. After this round, the field will be inverted starting anywhere from the eighth through 12th positions, to be selected by a random draw.
- Round 2: 15 laps, with the entire field inverted after this segment.
- Round 3: 15 laps, again the field will be inverted starting anywhere from the eighth through 12th positions, to be selected by a random draw after this round.
- Round 4: 15 laps.
- Round 5: 30 laps. The lineup for this round will be determined by the cumulative finish from the first four rounds, with the best cumulative finisher starting from the pole. Any ties in the aggregate score will be broken by (in order): Most career All-Star wins, most career Cup Series points race wins, or 2021 Cup Series driver standings. All cars must enter the pit road for a mandatory four-tire pit stop during this round. The crew with the fastest stop will pocket $100,000.
- Round 6: 10 laps. Cars will line up according to their finishing position from the previous round for the final segment.
- Only green-flag laps will count in the All-Star Race.
Alright, let’s go racing for a Million Dollars!
Open: Round 1
Ross Chastain(42) avoided a host of trouble in Round One to take the win in the 20-lap sprint that saw Bubba Wallace(23) spin, Chris Buescher(17) go around, and Erik Jones(43) lose it taking both himself and Daniel Suarez(99) out of the event.
Open: Round 2
Less chaos but an exciting finish, as Tyler Reddick(8) held off Aric Almirola(10) to earn his spot in the All-Star Race.
Open: Round 3
Almirola worked his way in with a victory in the 10-lap Round Three final segment. A playoff qualifier in 2020, Almirola has suffered through a horrendous stretch of bad luck in 2021 and currently sits well out of a playoff spot. He will likely have to win his way in to earn a spot in this year’s postseason.
The fans voted Matt DiBenedetto in, the driver of the #21 Wood Brother’s Ford Mustang won the Open last year. He was competitive in each Round and the fans rewarded him with a free pass into this year’s main event.
All-Star Race: Round 1
Kyle Busch(18) started on the front row with Kyle Larson(5) on the pole. It was Busch who led Lap 1 as Christopher Bell(20) went spinning coming to the start/finish line. The field was able to avoid the incident and Bell got his car under control.
Larson was able to regain the lead and take Round 1, William Byron(24), Kyle Busch(18), Chase Elliott(9), and Cole Custer(41) were the first five cars under the green and white checkered flag.
All-Star Race: Round 2
The first 12 cars were inverted, Ryan Blaney(12) and Kevin Harvick(4) lead the field back to green. This round will show how important track position is as compared to the fast cars that battled for the early lead.
Blaney drove away as Harvick fell back into the pack. Brad Keselowski(2) mounted a challenge for the lead, but could not complete the pass. Elliott was the first of the Round 1 leaders to head for the front, quickly moving to the 5th position.
Blaney led every lap of Round 2 with Keselowski on his rear bumper. Ross Chastain(42) took the 3rd spot, followed by his Chip Ganassi teammate Kurt Busch(1), and Byron passing Elliott for 5th.
All-Star Race: Round 3
The entire field is inverted for Round 3, the 15-lap rounds are not long enough to allow for large movements through the field. However, with the fastest cars in the second half of the pack and the slow cars out front, it will be interesting to see who is the most aggressive.
Aric Almirola and Matt DiBenedetto will have their chance to show what they can do after being late additions to the field. They start on the front row for the 15 laps of Round 3.
DiBenedetto took over the top spot with a push from Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell(34). The pair jockeyed for position side-by-side with DiBenedetto prevailing. Alex Bowman(48) was the next challenger to move towards the front and he was able to make the pass for the lead.
Bowman grabbed the win in Round 3 followed by DiBenedetto, Almirola, McDowell, and Ryan Newman(6). Kyle Larson finished in 6th and depending on the positions inverted could be near the front for the next Round.
All-Star Race: Round 4
Nine cars were inverted for the start of Round 4. Byron will start in the top spot next to Bell. The row behind them holds Denny Hamlin(11) and Larson. The starting lineup for Round 5 is determined by the cumulative points earned in the first 4 Rounds. Byron currently holds the 1st position.
Bell, recovering from his 1st lap spin, took a run at Byron but could not take the top spot away. Larson quickly moved into 2nd, Bell, Hamlin, Elliott, and Bowman were all chasing the Top 2.
Byron held off a late run by Larson to win the Round and capture the 1st starting spot in Round 5. Hamlin, Bell, and Elliott ran 3rd to 5th respectively.
All-Star Race: Round 5
The 30 laps in Round 5 will determine the lineup for the 10-lap sprint to the Million Dollars in the Final Round. A mandatory pit stop is required in the first 20 laps of Round 5 with $100,000 going to the crew and driver with the best time from entrance to exit of the pit road.
Byron, Larson, Elliott, and Blaney are the four drivers at the front of the field when the race goes green.
Pit stops began early, with those drivers taking a chance because you go a lap down while in for service. A caution flag coming out during the pit cycle would really scramble the running order.
Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon(3) were caught speeding on pit road, taking their crews out of contention for the 100 grand and themselves out of the mix for the million.
Brad Keselowski was the last car to pit and Chastain spun off the bumper of Ryan Newman while Brad was on pit road. Elliott was going to be the leader after pit stops cycled through. But, Keselowski got the big break with the timing of the caution and moved from 13th place to the lead.
Keselowski lost the side-by-side drag race with Elliott. Byron squeezed into the 2nd spot with Keselowski holding off Larson for 3rd. With 4 laps to go, Larson and Blaney passed the #2 car, but neither had anything for the Top 2.
Last year’s winner of the All-Star Race, Chase Elliott, will start from the top spot in Round 6. His move to the front assisted by the fastest pit stop that earned Elliott’s crew $100,000. His teammates Byron and Larson will be chasing him for the $1,000,000 with the Team Penske Ford Mustangs of Blaney and Keselowski still in the mix.
All-Star Race: Round 6
At the drop of the green flag, Larson went to the top side, Blaney to the bottom, and they were 3-wide for the lead. Byron got caught in the middle of the pack and quickly dropped back. Keselowski got a big run and looked like he might take the lead, Larson held him off and he settled into 2nd ahead of Elliott.
That’s the way they finished with Joey Logano(22) charging up to 4th and Blaney taking 5th.
Larson’s hot streak continues and his bank account just got bigger as the winner of the 2021 NASCAR All-Star Race.
Results of the 2021 NASCAR All-Star Race from Texas Motor Speedway
|13||19||Martin Truex Jr.||4.488||100|