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
My name is Tucker White. I'm currently majoring in journalism at the University of Tennessee. I started getting into NASCAR around 1998 and started following the sport full-time in 2001. I live and breathe everything related to NASCAR. I also have a burning passion for all things auto racing. I've been following Formula 1 since 2011 and am slowing getting into IndyCar. I do my best to keep up with the World Endurance Championship. But at the end of the day, NASCAR is my primary beat. Being both a native of Knoxville, Tennessee and a student at UT, I'm naturally a die-hard Tennessee Volunteers fan. Especially when it comes to Tennessee Volunteers football. While I'll never stop being one, it can be the most heart-wrenching thing ever. Since 2005, this team has delivered more than its fair share of heartbreaking moments and inhuman frustration. I've stuck with the Vols from the best of times - 1998 National Champions - to the worst of times - 2005 to present - because I know that it'll make it all so worth it when the mighty Vols finally return to the top of the college football landscape. In the last few years, I started to really get into baseball. This past season, I decided to pledge my sporting allegiance to the Atlanta Braves. It didn't turn out too well as they finished 67-95 and finished fourth in the NL East. I do see great potential with the young roster and they might be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.

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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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