In the past the NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway turned out to be a helpful learning curve for Martin Truex Jr.’s success in the following week’s Coca-Cola 600 at the 1.5-mile oval.
Though Truex struggled in recent All-Star races, he has had strong performances in the 600, winning in record fashion in 2016 along with finishes of fifth in 2015 and third last year.
But this year’s All-Star race with its new rules packages that will include restrictor plates, a six-inch high spoiler and 2014 style splitter and aero ducts will be of little assistance for the May 27 Coke 600.
“Since this year’s All-Star race won’t offer much help for the Coca-Cola 600 due to the rules package, the only goal is to win it,” said Truex. “It’s an all or nothing race. It’s not about points, it’s not about anything else. It’s just about going for the million bucks.”
The only time Truex came close to taking home the $1 million first-place prize was in 2010 when he finished runner-up.
Truex qualified for this year’s All-Star race in three different ways – race winner in 2017 and 2018 and being a NASCAR Cup Series champion. Saturday’s night race will mark his eighth and third straight All-Star appearance.
“We really haven’t been too good in that race the past couple of years,” noted Truex “Hopefully this time it will be different in our 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry. A lot of different rules and new things to figure out. It should be an interesting and fun weekend.”
The All-Star race will be comprised of four stages with Stage 1 ending on Lap 30, Stage 2 Lap 50, Stage 3 Lap 70 and Stage 4 Lap 80. Stages will not end under yellow and only green-flag laps will count in Stage 4.
There will be no mandatory pit stops and the field will not be inverted after each stage.
Qualifying for the All-Star race will take place Friday evening with drivers taking three laps that will include a mandatory four-tire pit stop.
Truex is coming off a second-place finish at Kansas Speedway. After the first 12 races the Furniture Row Racing driver has posted seven top fives, including a win in Fontana, Calf. He is eighth in the driver point standings.
FRR PR/Photo Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images