Normally held the weekend before the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused numerous schedule changes.  One of those changes is the annual NASCAR All Star Race in a history making event will run the All Star race at a short track when they travel to Thunder Valley and Bristol Motor Speedway…and there are fans in the stands!

Kicking off the night’s festivities is the All Star Open where the winner in each of the three stages will move on to the main race; along with the driver voted in by the fans.

Also new for this race is the Choose Rule where the drivers can choose which lane they want to restart the race in.  There is an orange arrow on the track where the drivers will make their choice of the lane they wish to run.

The cars themselves will look a bit different for this race with the car numbers further back on the side panel and there are neon lights under the cars – blue for Fords, Red for Toyotas, and Amber for Chevrolets.

The starting lineup for The Open are:
Michael McDowell
Aric Almirola
Christopher Bell
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Tyler Reddick
Bubba Wallace
William Byron
Chris Buescher
Clint Bowyer
Matt DiBenedetto
Austin Dillon
Ryan Preece
JJ Yeley
Garrett Smithley
Brennan Poole
Quin Houff
Joey Gase
Daniel Suarez
John Hunter Nemechek
Ty Dillon
Corey LaJoie

Stages one and two of The Open will be 35 laps each with stage three lasting just 15 laps for a total of 85 laps around the half mile concrete track.

 

Michael McDowell brings the field down for the green flag start of  The Open and the drivers are getting three and four wide across the track.

Tyler Reddick has an issue with his car.

Michael McDowell takes the lead from the pole.

Lap six, Michael McDowell and Aric Almirola battle for the lead with Ricky Stenhouse Jr making it a three way battle; so far McDowell holds them off.

Lap 10, the top five are Michael McDowell, Aric Almirola, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Bubba Wallace, William Bryon.

Lap eleven, Aric Almirola passes Michael McDowell for the lead.

Lap 15, Aric Almirola has pulled out to a one second lead on Michael McDowell and Ricky Stenhouse JR who are battling for second; Bubba Wallace, and William Byron round out the top five.

The caution flag comes out on lap 18 when Bubba Wallace and Michael McDowell get into a big crash.  William Byron also has some slight damage to his car.

Bubba, who was in the running for the fan vote, has a badly damaged car after hitting the wall.  He must have a car capable of running the race to win the fan vote into the race.

Caution flags do count for the stages.

This will be the first time that the drivers will get the opportunity to choose which lane they want to restart in.

Tyler Reddick reported an extremely loose condition with three rounds down on the trackbar.

Aric Almirola brings the field down for the green flag restart with six laps remaining in the stage.

Aric Almirola takes the lead with William Byron in second; Ty Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, and Daniel Suarez round out the top five.

Aric Almirola wins stage one and will be a part of the All Star Race.

Already in the All Star Race, Aric Almirola’s car is in the pits and wil not run the remainder of the race.

William Byron will bring the field down for the green flag start of stage two Ty Dillon alongside on the front row.  William Byron gets out in front for the lead as drivers get three wide across the track.

Lap 37, John Hunter Nemechek and Ryan Preece get into a wreck and brings out the caution flag.

William Byron brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 41 with Ty Dillon alongside on the front row.  Byron gets out in front for the lead with Christopher Bell in second; Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon,, and Matt DiBenedetto round out the top five.

With 24 laps remaining in stage two, William Byron has pulled out to a near one second lead on Christopher Bell; Austin Dillon, Matt DiBenedetto and Tyler Reddick round out the top five.

Twenty to go in stage two, William Byron has pulled out to a lead of over a second on Christopher Bell; Matt DiBenedetto, Austin Dillon, and Clint Bowyer round out the top five.

Tyler Reddick brushes the wall but the track stays green.

With 16 laps remaining in stage two, William Byron has increased his lead to over a second and a half; Christopher Bell, Matt DiBenedetto, Austin Dillon, and Clint Bowyer round out the top five.

With 13 laps remaining in the race, Matt DiBenedetto puts the bumper to Christopher Bell’s car and takes second place.

Ten to go, William Byron has pulled out to a two second lead on Matt DiBenedetto; Austin Dillon, Clint Bowyer, and Christopher Bell round out the top five.

Six to go, William Byron holds on to a two second lead on Matt DiBenedetto; Austin Dillon, Clint Bowyer, and Christopher Bell round out the top five.  There are 16 cars on the lead lap.

With a lead of over two seconds, William Byron wins stage two and will move on to the All Star Race.  This is the second year in a row that Byron has raced his way into the All Star Race.

With just 15 laps in stage three, only the green flag laps will count and the overtime rule is in play.

William Byron’s car is in the pits and out of the race as he prepares for the All Star Race.

Matt DiBenedetto brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three for the 15 laps shootout.  Matt DiBenedetto gets out in front for the lead with Clint Bowyer taking second place and riding DiBenedetto’s bumper.

Lap 72, the top five are Matt DiBenedetto, Clint Boyer, Austin Dillon, John Hunter Nemechek, and Chris Buescher.

Lap 75, Matt DiBenedetto has pulled out to a half second lead on Clint Bowyer; Austin Dillon, Chris Buescher, and John Hunter Nemechek round out the top five.

With six laps remaining in the race, Matt DiBenedetto has pulled out to a lead of over half a second on Clint Bowyer; Austin Dillon, Chris Buescher, and John Hunter Nemechek round out the top five.

Two to go, Clint Bowyer has closed the gap on leader Matt DiBenedetto to under half a second.

Driving the Wood Brothers number 21 car, Matt DiBenedetto wins the All Star Open race and will be a part of the All Star Race.  This is DiBenedetto’s first All Star Race.

The final spot in the All Star Race goes to the one the fans have chosen…overall fan vote winner Clint Bowyer!  There are loud cheers from the fans in the stands.

The starting lineup for the All Star Race:
Martin Truex Jr.
Alex Bowman
Ryan Blaney
Justin Haley
Kevin Harvick
Matt Kenseth
Kurt Busch
Cole Custer
Brad Keselowski
Kyle Busch
Ryan Newman
Joey Logano
Chase Elliott
Jimmie Johnson
Denny Hamlin
Erik Jones
Stage One Open winner Aric Almirola
Stage Two Open winner William Byron
Open winner Matt DiBenedetto
Fan choice winner Clint Bowyer

The All Star race will be run in four stages with stage one lasting 55 laps, stages two and three lasting 35 laps each, and stage four lasting just 15 laps for a shootout to the end with only green flag laps counting.  The laps between the stages do no count.

The winner of the All Star Race gets a million dollar prize…and there are no points awarded for this race.

Pole sitter Martin Truex Jr had issues in the inspection process and will have to start the race from the back of the field.

Bryson Burns announced that Bubba Wallace is the recipient of the 2020 Burnsie Award – an award presented to a member of NASCAR who exemplifies what broadcaster Steve Burns was about.  Burns died in 2015 as a result of cancer.

A guest of the Governor, Darrel Waltrip returns to start the race with a Boogity Boogity, Boogity.

Alex Bowman brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and initially gets out in front for the lead.

On lap two, Ryan Blaney takes the lead with Alex Bowman in second; Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

Lap five, Ryan Blaney has a half second lead on Alex Bowman; Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.

Kurt Busch brings out the first caution flag of the race on lap nine when he spins out after contact with Brad Keselowski.  Busch taps the outside wall with the rear end of his car.

Alex Bowman brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 14 with Ryan Blaney alongside on the front row.  Ryan Blaney jumps out for the lead with Kevin Harvick right behind him.

Lap 15, Ryan Blaney is in the lead with Kevin Harvick second; Alex Bowman, Joey Logano, and Chase Elliott round out the top five.

Matt DiBenedetto hits the wall after making contact with William Byron, but the track stays green.

Lap 20, Ryan Blaney holds on to the lead with Kevin Harvick a quarter of a second behind; Alex Bowman, Joey Logano, and Chase Elliott round out the top five.

Lap 25, Ryan Blaney has pulled out to a lead of over half a second on Kevin Harvick; Alex Bowman, Joey Logano, and Chase Elliott round out the top five.

Lap 30, Ryan Blaney holds on to the lead with Kevin Harvick a half second back; Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Martin Truex Jr has moved up to sixteenth place after starting the race from the back of the field.

Lap 35, Ryan Blaney holds on to his lead but Kevin Harvick has closed the gap to under half a second; Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Lap 40, Ryan Blaney has again pulled out to a lead of over half a second on Kevin Harvick; Chase Elliott, Alex, Bowman and Erik Jones round out the top five.

Ten to go in stage one, Ryan Blaney has pulled out to a lead of nearly a second on Kevin Harvick; Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman and Erik Jones round out the top five.  Kurt Busch is the only driver one lap down after getting into the wall.

Six laps remain in stage one, Kevin Harvick has closed the gap on leader Ryan Blaney to just a quarter of a second; Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, and Erik Jones round out the top five.

Ryan Blaney wins stage one.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Ryan Blaney
Kevin Harvick
Chase Elliott
Alex Bowman
Erik Jones
Aric Almirola
Joey Logano
Brad Keselwoski
Kyle Busch
Ryan Newman

Kurt Busch gets the “lucky dog”.

Kevin Harvick wins the race off of pit road.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two and jumps out in front for the lead with Chase Elliott in second.

Rocket Man Ryan Newman brings out the caution flag on lap 57 after getting loose and spinning out.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart with 30 laps remaining in stage two.  After not getting a good start, Chase Elliott gets out in front for the lead.

Lap 62, Chase Elliott is the leader with Kevin Harvick in second; Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.

With 20 laps remaining in stage two, Chase Elliott is in the lead with Kevin Harvick on his bumper; Ryan Blaney; Alex Bowman, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.

Erik Jones’ pit crew came over the wall too soon during the pit stop and Kurt Busch’s team was charged with an uncontrolled tire on pit road.  Both drivers had to restart the race from the back of the field.

Ten to go, Chase Elliott continues to lead the race with Kevin Harvick less than half a second behind; Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.

Five to go, Chase Elliott has pulled out to a lead of over half a second on Kevin Harvick; Ryan Blaney in third is over two seconds back; Brad Keselowski and Alex Bowman round out the top five.

Chase Elliott wins stage two by over a second on Kevin Harvick.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Chase Elliott
Kevin Harvick
Ryan Blaney
Brad Keselowski
Alex Bowman
Clint Bowyer
Denny Hamlin
Joey Logano
Aric Almirola
Kyle Busch

Ryan Blaney is the only driver who did not come down pit road.  Taking only two tires, Brad Keselowski wins the race off of pit road.

After staying out on the track, Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three.  Blaney takes the lead with team mate Brad Keselowski in second.

Lap 92, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, and Kevin Harvick make it a three way battle for second with Ryan Blaney in the lead.

Lap 95, Ryan Blaney has pulled out to a lead of over half a second on Brad Keselowski; Chase Elliott, ,Kevin Harvick, and Joey Logano round out the top five.  All 20 drivers are still on the track and on the lead lap.

Lap 100, Ryan Blaney holds a narrow lead on Brad Keselowski; Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Lap 104, the top four drivers are nose to bumper; separated by only half a second.

Lap 107, the top five are Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.

Lap 110, Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott battle for the lead with Elliott taking the spot.

With 10 laps remaining in stage three, Chase Elliott has a lead of over half a second on Ryan Blaney; Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Five laps remain in stage three; Chase Elliott has a lead of over half a second on Ryan Blaney; Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Chase Elliott wins stage three for his second stage win of the race.

The top 10 at the end of stage three:
Chase Elliott
Ryan Blaney
Brad Keselowski
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick
Denny Hamlin
Erik Jones
Joey Logano
Alex Bowman
Clint Bowyer

Kevin Harvick in fifth place is the first driver to come down pit road.

In stage four, only the green flag laps will count and the overtime rule is in play.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag start of stage four and jumps out in front for the lead as drivers get three wide across the track.

Chase Elliott is in the lead with Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney battling for second; Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Ten to go, Chase Elliott has a quarter second lead on Kyle Busch; Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.

Seven to go, Chase Elliott has pulled out to a lead of over half a second on Kyle Busch.

Only four laps remain in the race, Chase Elliott has a half second lead on Kyle Busch; Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Chase Elliott takes the white flag.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Chase Elliott wins the All Star Race.  His father Bill Elliott won the All Star Race in 1986.  The only two times an All Star Race was held anywhere other than Charlotte Motor Speedway, it has been won by an Elliott.  The folks in Dawsonville, Georgia will be ringing the siren on the pool hall tonight!

The near 30,000 fans in the stands are cheering loudly!

The results of the 2020 All Star Race:
Chase Elliott
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick
Brad Keselowski
Denny Hamlin
Ryan Blaney
Joey Logano
Alex Bowman
Aric Almirola
Martin Truex Jr
Erik Jones
William Byron
Matt DiBenedetto
Justin Haley
Clint Bowyer
Cole Custer
Jimmie Johnson
Matt Kenseth
Ryan Newman
Kurt Busch