Speedway Motorsports and NASCAR officials announced Monday the race is moving from Charlotte Motor Speedway to Bristol because of an increase in the number of coronavirus cases in North Carolina. Up to 30,000 fans may be in attendance (buy tickets from BMS).
This will be only the second time in the history of an event that began as The Winston in 1985 that the race is held somewhere other than Charlotte. NASCAR ran the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1986 but moved back to Charlotte the following year.
The date remains unchanged. The race is scheduled for Wednesday, July 15, starting at 7 p.m., and slated to be televised on FS1 and broadcast on PRN radio.
“While Charlotte will always be recognized as the birthplace and traditional home for the All-Star Race, the current data surrounding the pandemic in North Carolina makes Bristol a better option for fan access this summer,” Speedway Motorsports CEO Marcus Smith said. “Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Sullivan County officials have allowed for up to 30,000 fans at the All-Star Race in Bristol. We’re grateful for the continued support from all the state and local officials as we work with NASCAR to bring fans back to live sporting events.”
NASCAR fans have long clamored for the All-Star Race to be moved from the 1.5-mile Charlotte track to Bristol’s action-packed half-mile bullpen.
“We are excited to take one of the most unique races in our sport to one of the most unique racetracks in our sport,” said NASCAR Executive Vice President of Racing Development Steve O’Donnell. “Bristol Motor Speedway puts on classic short-track action every time we race there, and we’re anticipating an elevated level of intensity for the NASCAR All-Star Race.
“We appreciate the great collaboration with Marcus Smith and his team, and all the race teams, in making this move. We look forward to bringing this thrilling race to a short track for the first time, and we hope our fans enjoy this special event, under the lights.”
Kyle Larson edged Kevin Harvick to win the 2019 All-Star race. Jimmie Johnson holds the record with four All-Star wins, followed by Jeff Gordon and the late Dale Earnhardt with three each.
Darrell Waltrip won the inaugural All-Star Race in 1985. Bill Elliott won the race when it was held at Atlanta.
To be eligible for the All-Star Race, full-time drivers must have either won a 2019 or 2020 Cup Series race; won a previous All-Star Race; or be a former Cup Series champion. Drivers currently eligible are Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliot, Justin Haley, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr.
The final four spots in the field will be reserved for the two stage winners and race winner from the All-Star Open as well as the winner of the All-Star fan vote (vote for your All-Star driver).
The race format is still to be announced.