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What to Watch for: Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race

EYES ON THE $1 MILLION ALL-STAR PRIZE

Saturday, NASCAR's annual All-Star Race will take place. The format has slightly changed this year, with the cars now running 80 laps (70 laps last season) over four different segments.

The cars will have a new aero package, which includes using a restrictor plate. The plate is normally used at Daytona & Talladega, but will be used during the event in the hopes of improved racing.

2018 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race - Format

- The race consists of four stages (30 laps / 20 laps / 20 laps / 10 laps)
- No mandatory pit stops. No inverting the field or eliminations after stages
- Overtime procedure will be used at the end of each stage should caution come out

Who's Qualified for the 2018 All-Star Race:

- Drivers who won a race in 2017 & 2018
- Former all-star race winners who are competing full-time
- Former series champions who are competing full-time
- Stage winners of the 2018 Monster Energy Open
- 2018 fan vote winner (determined after Monster Energy Open)

WHO TO KEEP AN EYE ON:

Kyle Busch enters the race as the points leader. He will try to become the first driver in the last 5 years to win this race after coming in as the points leader.

Kevin Harvick is the first driver to win five of the first 12 races of a season since Jeff Gordon in 1997. Harvick will try to emulate Gordon, who also won the All-Star race and went on to win the championship.

Brad Keselowski will be looking for his first All-Star victory. Since 2012, he has led 108 laps in the All-Star race, more than any other driver in that span.

A win wouldn't snap Jimmie Johnson's winless drought (this is a non-points, exhibition event), but it would extend his record for most All-Star Race wins.

YOUTH MOVEMENT ON HAND IN NASCAR OPEN

Seventeen drivers are locked into the All-Star field, with four spots up for grabs in the Monster Energy Open (three for the stage winners, one for the fan vote).

The race should be a good time for fans to embrace the youth movement, as several drivers are looking to crack the field for the All-Star race.

Only three times in the history of the All-Star race (since 1985) has a driver won after running in the preliminary race. Kasey Kahne was the last to do so in 2008.

Who's Hot and Who's Not - NASCAR All-Star Race

HOT
• Kyle Busch: defending All-Star Race winner; trying to join Jimmie Johnson (2012-13) and Davey Allison (1991-92) as only drivers to win consecutive All-Star races
• Jimmie Johnson: only driver to win All-Star Race 4 times; leads all drivers with 11 All-Star segment wins

NOT
• Martin Truex Jr.: 1 finish better than 10th in 7 career All-Star races (2nd in 2010)
• Brad Keselowski & Kyle Larson: each have 3 All-Star segment wins without an event win (tied for most all-time)
• Clint Bowyer: never had a top-5 finish in 8 career All-Star Race starts
• Matt Kenseth: failed to finish last 2 All-Star Races (18th in 2016, 20th in 2017)
• Ryan Newman: finished 10th or worse in last 9 All-Star races

--- ESPN Stats & Info ---