By Thomas Chemris - Motorsport.com The NASCAR Winston Cup Series will return from a week off to compete in a non-points all-star event at Lowes Motor Speedway. The annual event known as the Winston has been held since 1985, and with the ...
By Thomas Chemris - Motorsport.com
The NASCAR Winston Cup Series will return from a week off to compete in a non-points all-star event at Lowes Motor Speedway.
The annual event known as the Winston has been held since 1985, and with the exception of 1996, has always been held at the Charlotte facility.
The twenty one-car feature event is a three-segment race of 30 laps, 30 laps, and a ten-lap sprint.
The starting grid for the event is determined by a combined time of a four tire pit stop, and a three lap qualifying run among eligible drivers.
To be eligible for the feature, drivers must have won a Winston cup point's event in the previous year, or prior if the field has an open position.
Kevin Harvick Photo by Thomas Chemris
The winners of two-pre race qualifying events fill the final two starting positions.
The Winston Open, which is open to any driver who has qualified for a Winston Cup Points race since Daytona 2000. This is a two-segment race consisting of a 30-lap event, followed by a 16-lap sprint. 16 laps representing the 16 years the event has run.
The winner is granted the twentieth starting position.
The remaining competitors will have a ten-lap sprint to determine the final starting position.
Unique to this event is the possibility of the field being inverted between race segments.
In years past Speedway President Humpy Wheeler has found numerous ways to determine the order.
This years fans can vote on line on NASCAR.COM to determine the inversion of positions six through twelve.
The event has a history of elaborate paint schemes and a winning at all costs mentality. Many fans still debate Darrell Walltrip inaugural victory when his engine blew just past the checkered flag, but right before the post race technical inspection.
Most of the teams welcome the event, it falls between a week off, and the Coco Cola 600, which is run in Charlotte, leaving most team members home with there families for three weeks before the longest stretch of the season.
Two drivers who will not find the weekend relaxing are rookie sensation Kevin Harvick, and veteran Tony Stewart. Stewart, who is busy preparing for the Indy 500, will travel between the two tracks.
Harvick, who became eligible for the feature by virtue of his Atlanta win, will also be competing next weekend in the Busch Grand National Event in Pennsylvania.
Harvick does not see a conflict with the travel, but his representatives were quick to point out that no contingency plans have been made if either event is postponed due to inclement weather.
Previous winners include the late Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Bill Elliott, and Michael Walltrip. The defending champion is Dale Earnhardt JR.
Predestrian bridge after collapse. Photo: Thomas Chemris
Last years event was marred by tragedy, as a pedestrian bridge collapsed injuring several fans exiting the track.
The event will be run on Saturday May 19th at 730 pm