It's All-Star Bristol, Baby!

NASCAR announced Monday afternoon that Bristol Motor Speedway will host the 2020 All-Star Race, just the second time in the history of the race that the event will be run at a track other than Charlotte Motor Speedway, and the first time at a short track. Atlanta Motor Speedway hosted the event in 1986.

Additionally, as many as 30,000 fans are expected to attend the Wednesday, July 15th exhibition under the lights as drivers compete for a winner-take-all prize of one million dollars. Provisions for reducing the potential spread of COVID-19 are being finalized but include spacing groups of fans in the grandstands, sanitation stations, and more.

Both venues, Bristol and Charlotte, are owned by Speedway Motorsports International.

SMI President and CEO Marcus Smith said, "The NASCAR All-Star Race is an event known for making history, and we will enhance that legacy by hosting the event at Bristol Motor Speedway.

"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.”

NASCAR Executive Vice President of Racing Development Steve O’Donnell stated, “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."

The format for this year’s race is to be announced soon, but eligibility remains the same. Drivers must have won a race in 2019 or 2020, won a previous All-Star Race, or be a former Cup Series champion.

As of the Martinsville race Sunday, drivers currently eligible include 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.

As usual, those drivers who have not secured a starting spot may earn one in the All-Star Open or by winning the All-Star Fan Vote. The winners of the first two stages and the race winner advance to the All-Star Race, and fans may vote until Tuesday, July 14, 12 p.m. ET for their favorite driver. You can submit one eligible NASCAR driver per ballot submission and submit one ballot per day per unique email address.

Current ticket holders who are not able to attend the race in Bristol as well as any SMI credit holder may visit the Charlotte Motor Speedway website for more information.

It's All-Star Bristol, Baby! It's All-Star Bristol, Baby! Reviewed by Janine Cloud on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 Rating: 5