By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
BRISTOL, Tenn. – In recent years, the Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway has become a testing ground. Last year, NASCAR and Goodyear, tested an ‘option’ tire for teams to utilize in addition to the traditional tire. Cold temperatures negated most of the advantages that option tire provided. The All-Star Race has led to the inclusion of Double-File Restarts and ultimately Stage Racing.
This year, the All-Star Race will test a different aero-package and restrictor plates. The package is very similar to the one used by the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year. Aero ducts that redirect the air out behind the front fenders will be installed in the front of the cars. Cars will also have a six-inch spoiler with two 12-inch ears and a 2014-style splitter.
“I feel the All-Star race is a great place to test things,” Johnson stated. “And, I’m happy to see NASCAR using that environment and also the speedway allowing that to happen. In talking to the Xfinity guys that ran the package at Indy, I think Indy might serve that package better with the long straightaways to be able to take advantage of the way the aero works on the car, but let’s try. I mean, why not? There’s really nothing to lose. It might not be the package we love and want, but I’m sure it will get us a step closer and we’ll continue to evolve; largely because so many people are willing to take this chance at the All-Star race.”
Although Johnson has been in a ‘slump’ since winning his record-tying seventh Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship, is the winningest driver in All-Star Race history. Johnson won the event in 2003, 2006, 2012, and most recently in 2013.
This year’s All-Star Race will have four stages comprising of 30 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps, and 10 laps. NASCAR Overtime will be used at the end of each stage with only green flag laps counting in the final stage.