NASCAR: Denny Hamlin Firing Major Shot at NASCAR All-Star Race

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by Drew Hallowell/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin slammed NASCAR when he learned he’s starting near the back of the pack for this year’s All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway despite being the season’s points leader.

Hamlin, tweeted his frustrations after NASCAR’s revealed its random draw for starting position for Sunday’s race, which comes with a $1 million purse for the winner.

Hamlin will start 16th out of 17 available spots so far.

Kyle Larson, who won the previous two NASCAR Cup Series races, drew the pole position. Kyle Busch will start second, Christopher starts third, and Cole Custer starting fourth. Austin Dillon will round out the top 5.

Hamlin was responding to a NASCAR joke account that tweeted a caption of Hamlin saying “How did we _____ this up.”

NASCAR will eventually round out the field to 21 drivers. That includes one driver who will get in via fan vote. They will start last.

“Drivers and pit crews better pack their lunch pails because they are going to have to work extremely hard to earn the honor of celebrating in Victory Lane,” said Texas Motor Speedway president and GM Eddie Gossage, who also plans an old-timey, wild West motif for pre-race ceremonies. “This is a full metal rodeo for a big ol’ bag of dough.”

The All-Star Race winner will win $1 million. The fastest pit crew will subsequently earn $100,000.

NASCAR Explains the Six-Round All-Star Format

NASCAR released the rules for stages for this year’s All-Star race. And they’re complex, to say the least.

  • Starting lineup set by random draw.
  • Round 1: 15 laps. After this round, the field will invert, starting anywhere from the eighth through 12th positions, to be selected by a random draw.
  • Round 2: 15 laps. The entire field will invert after this segment.
  • Round 3: 15 laps. Again the field will be inverted again, starting anywhere from the eighth through 12th positions, to be selected by a random draw after this round.
  • Round 4: 15 laps.
  • Round 5: 30 laps. The lineup for this round will be determined by the cumulative finish from the first four rounds, with the best cumulative finisher starting from the pole. Officials will use drivers’ past performances to break any ties, including (in order) most career All-Star wins, most career Cup Series points race wins, or 2021 Cup Series driver standings. All cars must enter the pit road for a mandatory four-tire pit stop during this round. The crew with the fastest stop will pocket $100,000.
  • Round 6: 10 laps. Cars will line up according to their finishing position from the previous round for the final segment.