Mandatory pit stop added for race

Updated: March 17, 2010, 7:05 PM ET
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

A mandatory four-tire pit stop will be added this year to the final 10-lap segment of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 22, NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway officials announced Wednesday.

The event will continue to have four segments and a $1 million purse for the winner, but the new twist is the late pit stop that will bring added emphasis to the efficiency of the pits crews.

Before the green flag drops for the final segment, all the cars must enter pit road for a four-tire stop. The order the cars exit off pit road is how they will line up for the final 10 laps.

"I think the fans are in for quite a show," Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition, said. "With the addition of the four-tire pit stop, there is going to be even greater competition between the pit crews on who can get their driver serviced and out the quickest."

The race is 100 laps total, including a 50-lap opening segment with a mandatory pit stop on Lap 25. The second segment is 20 laps with an optional pit stop, and the third segment also is 20 laps.

"The pit crew is going to be under the gun and under pressure to get the job done to get you out first," Kyle Busch said after Wednesday's announcement.

Eligibility for the race remains the same: Race winners from either the 2009 or 2010 seasons through May 16, any past winner of the event and any past series champion from the past 10 years.

In addition, the top-two finishers in the Sprint Showdown, a 40-lap preliminary race, also advance the All-Star race, along with the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote.

There are currently 18 drivers eligible for the race, which series sponsor Sprint consistently tweaks to add excitement to NASCAR's version of an All-Star event.

Martin Truex Jr., who has not yet earned a spot in the field, said at Wednesday's announcement that NASCAR's All-Star event is a better showcase than the ones held by the four traditional professional sports.

"We put a lot of effort into it," Truex said. "Not to say that other sports don't. But I think if you watch, for instance, the NFL All-Star Game this past year, a lot of guys couldn't even play because they were going to be in the Super Bowl. So their best of their best couldn't even play.

"I just feel like they don't put in the effort. It's not as big of a deal as it is for us. It could be the million dollars that's up for stakes."

Terry Blount is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter