Ty Gibbs, Bubba Wallace and Noah Gragson transfer to 2024 All-Star Race from All-Star Open

Ty Gibbs, Bubba Wallace and Noah Gragson completed the starting grid for the 2024 NASCAR All-Star Race after all three transferred from the NASCAR All-Star Open at North Wilkesboro Speedway on Sunday, May 19. 

Gibbs and Wallace, both of whom started towards the front with the former starting on pole position, raced their way into the main event after finishing first and second, respectively, during the Open while Gragson was revealed as the Fan Vote winner for a second consecutive season, thus claiming the final spot of the 20-car grid for the All-Star event that will follow suit at the North Wilkesboro circuit. 

The starting lineup for the event was based on the current 2024 Cup Series owner’s standings after the event’s on-track qualifying that was scheduled to occur on Friday, May 17, was canceled due to on-track precipitation. As a result, Ty Gibbs was awarded the pole position and he shared the front row with Alex Bowman. 

When the green flag waved and the race commenced, Ty Gibbs rocketed his No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry XSE ahead with the lead from the outside lane through the first two turns and through the backstretch. As the field fanned out and jostled for early spots, Gibbs proceeded to lead the first lap as he was being pursued by Bubba Wallace, Alex Bowman, Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe, Noah Gragson and a bevy of competitors. Wallace, who also gained a strong launch at the start behind Gibbs from the outside lane, would trail Gibbs for the lead by nearly a second by the fifth lap mark. 

Through the first 10 scheduled laps, Gibbs was leading by more than a second over Wallace followed by Cindric, Bowman and Briscoe while Gragson, rookie Carson Hocevar, Todd Gilliland, John Hunter Nemechek and rookie Josh Berry were racing in the top 10 ahead of Ryan Preece, Corey LaJoie, Erik Jones, Austin Dillon, Justin Haley, Kaz Grala, rookie Zane Smith, Harrison Burton, Daniel Hemric and Timmy Hill, respectively. 

Ten laps later, Gibbs stabilized his advantage to more than a second over Wallace while Cindric, Bowman and Briscoe continued to trail in the top five and by within four seconds. Behind, Hocevar overtook Gragson for sixth place while Nemechek and Berry were running in eighth and ninth, respectively, ahead of Gilliland. 

Another 10 laps later, Gibbs extended his advantage to nearly two seconds over Wallace while third-place Cindric trailed by more than three seconds as Bowman and Briscoe continued to run in the top five. Behind, Hocevar retained sixth ahead of Gragson, Berry, Nemechek and Gilliland while Austin Dillon, Preece, LaJoie, Justin Haley and Erik Jones trailed in the top 15. 

By Lap 40, Gibbs continued to lead by nearly two seconds over Wallace while Cindric, Bowman and Briscoe trailed by within four seconds in the top five on the track. Meanwhile, Hocevar trailed by seven seconds in sixth place followed by Gragson, Berry and Nemechek while Austin Dillon cracked the top 10 as he occupied 10th place over Gilliland. 

A designated caution period was generated when the All-Star Open reached its halfway mark on Lap 50. By then, Gibbs was leading ahead of Wallace, Cindric, Bowman and Briscoe while Hocevar, Gragson, Berry, Nemechek and Dillon were scored in the top 10. 

During the caution period, all the competitors led by Gibbs pitted for a mandatory four-tire service. Following the pit stops, Gibbs retained the lead after exiting first as he was followed by Bowman, Wallace, Briscoe, Berry, Cindric, Gragson, Nemechek, Hocevar and Dillon. Amid the pit stops, both LaJoie and Nemechek were penalized for speeding on pit road.  

When the race restarted with 43 laps remaining, Gibbs and Bowman battled dead even for the lead as the field behind fanned out to multiple lanes through the first two turns and the backstretch. During the following lap, however, the caution returned after Cindric, who was trying to race his way back into the top five, got squeezed into Gragson by Hocevar amid a tight three-wide battle through the frontstretch as he then slid his No. 2 Keystone Light Ford Mustang Dark Horse against the wall with right-front damage before proceeding. 

During the following restart with 36 laps remaining, Gibbs fended off a challenge from Bowman for nearly a lap to retain the lead as Wallace overtook Bowman for the runner-up spot. Wallace, Bowman, Briscoe and Berry would all battle for the runner-up spot during the ensuing laps while Gibbs drove away with the lead as he led by half a second with 33 laps remaining.  

Wallace and Bowman would then engage in another side-by-side battle for the runner-up/transfer spot during the next three laps, with both neither stepping off the throttle as Berry and Briscoe tried to close in. Other competitors mixed towards the battle included Hocevar, Gragson, Haley and Preece while Gibbs was leading by more than a second with less than 30 laps remaining.  

With 27 laps remaining, Berry made a bold move beneath Bowman’s No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 entering Turn 3 to move his No. 4 Harrison’s Ford Mustang Dark Horse into third place as he tried to close in on Wallace for the runner-up spot. Soon after, Haley moved his No. 51 Pinnacle Home Improvement Ford Mustang Dark Horse into the top five while Briscoe, Hocevar and Gragson tried to close in from sixth through eighth. Amid the battles for the runner-up spot, currently occupied by Wallace, Gibbs was gone with the lead as he was on top by two seconds with 20 laps remaining. By then, Haley was trying to overtake Berry for third place in his bid to catch Wallace’s No. 23 Alltroo Toyota Camry XSE for second place. 

Down to the final 15 laps of the event, Gibbs was leading by more than two seconds over Wallace, who had Berry, Haley and Bowman all close in on him for the runner-up/transfer spot. Gibbs would retain the lead by a comfortable advantage of more than two seconds while Wallace would retain the runner-up spot by within two- and three-tenths of a second over Berry as Haley and Bowman tried to close in with 10 laps remaining.  

With five laps remaining, Gibbs continued to lead by more than two seconds as Wallace retained the runner-up spot by nearly a second over Berry while Haley and Bowman continued to trail in the top five followed by Gragson, Briscoe, Preece, Hocevar and Austin Dillon. 

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Gibbs remained as the leader by more than two seconds over Wallace while third-place Berry trailed by three seconds. Having a comfortable lead to his advantage, Gibbs was able to cruise around the North Wilkesboro circuit smoothly for a final time as he then cycled back to the frontstretch to claim the checkered flag and race his way into the 2024 All-Star Race for a second consecutive season.  

With the victory, Gibbs, who is coming off a career-best runner-up result at Darlington Raceway, will campaign for his first All-Star Race victory after transferring from the Open for a second consecutive season. Gibbs’ transfer enables all four Joe Gibbs Racing entries to earn starting spots for the 2024 All-Star Race. 

“Yeah, we were pretty good,” Gibbs said on FS1. “I feel like we were pretty solid, so it’s good to make [the All-Star Race]. Hopefully, we can go ahead and win it. I think we’re solid enough and good enough to [win]. I feel like we learned a lot with what we’re gonna do. I got some good friends here. Let’s go win this thing.” 

Like Gibbs, Bubba Wallace was also left smiling on pit road after settling in the runner-up spot and transferring into the All-Star Race for the fourth time in his career and his third in a row in recent seasons. As a result, Wallace, who finished second to Kyle Larson during the 2023 All-Star Race, enabled both 23XI Racing entries to make the main event as he will also campaign for his first All-Star victory.  

“[This event] just made us work extra hard,” Wallace said. “You have to earn every right of this, so I can’t say we deserved, well I guess we deserve to be in the All-Star [Race], but we got to go fight for it every once in awhile. We’re just lacking a little bit. Definitely, a different feel than what we had in practice, so got a little bit of time to make minimal changes to make [the car] better, but all in all, we’re in the show. Appreciate [Bowman] and [Berry] running clean there. That was fun, that was short-track stuff right there. We were able to squeeze away there and hang on to second, but that’s the most stressful spot to be in.”  

Amid the battles for the top-two finishing spots during the Open, Noah Gragson, who finished fifth in the Open, claimed the final starting spot for the 2024 All-Star Race after being named the 2024 All-Star Fan Vote winner for a second consecutive season. As a result, Gragson joined Chase Elliott and Danica Patrick as the only competitors to be named the Fan Vote winner during the All-Star weekend for multiple seasons, with Gragson becoming the first back-to-back Fan Vote winner since Elliott achieved the honors for three consecutive seasons (2016-18). Gragson’s transfer has also allowed at least one Stewart-Haas Racing entry to make the 2024 All-Star Race as he will attempt to replicate Kasey Kahne’s run by winning the All-Star Race after being voted into the main event by the fans in 2008. 

“I appreciate all the fans,” Gragson said on the radio following the All-Star Open. “You guys are badass. We didn’t quite have what it took there in that race, but you fans pulled through. Your support means everything. We’re gonna go have some fun.” 

Rookie Josh Berry and Justin Haley recorded strong finishes of third and fourth place, respectively, but were among the 17 remaining competitors who did not qualify for the 2024 All-Star Race. Among those who also did not make the main event included Alex Bowman, Chase Briscoe, Ryan Preece, Austin Dillon, rookie Carson Hocevar, Kaz Grala, Corey LaJoie, Harrison Burton, John Hunter Nemechek, Todd Gilliland, Daniel Hemric, rookie Zane Smith, Erik Jones, Timmy Hill and Austin Cindric. 

There were no lead changes and the race featured two cautions for 11 laps. In addition, 18 of 20 starters finished on the lead lap. 

Results. 

1. Ty Gibbs, 100 laps led 

2. Bubba Wallace 

3. Josh Berry 

4. Justin Haley 

5. Noah Gragson 

6. Alex Bowman 

7. Chase Briscoe 

8. Ryan Preece 

9. Austin Dillon  

10. Carson Hocevar 

11. Kaz Grala 

12. Corey LaJoie 

13. Harrison Burton 

14. John Hunter Nemechek 

15. Todd Gilliland 

16. Daniel Hemric 

17. Zane Smith 

18. Erik Jones 

19. Timmy Hill, seven laps down 

20. Austin Cindric, 18 laps down 

The 2024 NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway will follow suit on Sunday, May 19, at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, with the green flag scheduled to wave around 8:30 p.m. ET. 

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

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