The White Zone: Let’s retire the All-Star Race

Wednesday, on NASCAR Race Hub, NASCAR announced the format for this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race.

Over its 35-year history, it’s had 15 different formats. Three of them have come in the last five years.

Does the All-Star Race excite anyone, anymore?

What’s even the most notable thing that’s happened in this event in the last 10 years? Probably 2012, when NASCAR incentivized the segment winners to sandbag, until the final pit stop (to their credit, however, they changed that the following year to best segment average finish).

This isn’t your father’s All-Star Race, where Rusty Wallace turned Darrell Waltrip to win the event or Davey Allison got turned, as he crossed the finish line. This is an event that’s become a victim of the aerodynamic-centrism that’s made races at 1.5-mile tracks so maligned. This is a race where the guy who exits pit road first on the final stop wins it nine times out of 10.

It’s yet another race in a season that’s already too long.

And unlike other All-Star Games in the stick and ball world, you’re not seeing players that, if you follow Major League Baseball, you’d only see three or four times a year (or 20 times, if you’re a fan of a division rival) in a 162-game season. You’re seeing the drivers that already race 36 times a year.

So what made it stand out? It was the gimmicks.

It made sense until 2004, when this was a race with gimmicks, during a season when the championship was decided in a season-long points format. But with all the gimmicks that permeate NASCAR now (and yes, stage racing and playoff points are gimmicks), what makes this race any different from a race during the season?

Is it the million-dollar prize? Aside from it not being the only race with a purse that large, what about that is supposed to appeal to the blue-collar worker that earns $31,900 a year? For context, the median household income in the United States (and this number can vary by source) in 2017 was $61,372.

It’s time to accept that the All-Star Race has run its course. The event, every year, is so over-hyped and enrages fans when it disappoints.

What if instead of the All-Star Race, we use it as an actual off weekend for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. And while it’s off, let’s run the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) and the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) at a short track, like — say — Hickory Motor Speedway or Myrtle Beach Speedway.

Then the next weekend (if we must run the NGOTS and NXS at Charlotte), run the NGOTS race on Thursday, NXS on Saturday and the Coca-Cola World 600 on Sunday evening.

Right now, as it is, the All-Star Race is just another race weekend taking up space in an already crowded schedule.

That’s my view, for what it’s worth.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2024, I'm on my ninth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Blazing Saddles" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."

1 COMMENT

  1. Couldn’t agree with you more. One thing it’s not really an All Star race. It’s just another race only with a reduced field. Just like the Shootout. At one time these races were special. You had to do something to be in it. Now they make sure all of the favorites are in .
    Dale Jr. alluded to this on his Download show. The fan vote is a joke. Remember the year Truex was voted in and wasn’t even a Cup driver that year. Did Danica ever belong in it? Like you stated the sport is now just a gimmicked up show that a ton of fans no longer want to see.

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