On Tuesday Charlotte Motor Speedway announced scheduling changes to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race schedule. Instead of the Sprint Showdown, where the top two finishers and a fan vote driver advance to the All-Star Race, being held on the Saturday night of the All-Star Race itself, the Showdown will now be run on Friday night before the Camping World Truck Series race. Then those who earn their way into the All-Star Race through the Showdown and the fan vote will qualify for their All-Star Race starting position on Saturday along with those already eligible for the race.

Motorsports 101's writers take aim at their thoughts on the new set up for All-Star weekend.

Mostly a Smart Move - By Clayton Caldwell
There are several ways to analyze the new format of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race weekend. First thing I want to say is I love the move of the Sprint Showdown to Friday night. In recent years I feel that some of the drivers who advanced from the Sprint Showdown had a huge advantage over the rest of the field during the Sprint All-Star Race. The drivers transferring had been on the same racetrack and had chances to make adjustments to their cars when the other drivers didn’t. With the move to Friday night that advantage is gone and makes the race more even and in my opinion more competitive. With how close things are nowadays that extra 40 laps was huge for some of the teams.
I love the fact we get to see qualifying prior to the race as well. It will make Saturday even better with an easy transition so we’ll know exactly where these cars will start on Saturday night. There is one issue I have with the new format. I am not a big fan of the fact that the drivers transferring into the Sprint All-Star Race get to start where they qualify. To me it’s an honor for those drivers just to be in the All-Star Race and I have an issue with a driver who was voted in by the fans starting higher than a driver who might have won five races in a season. It’s a knit pick for sure but if those cars started in the back I would have no issues with this system at all.
I understand Charlotte’s logic as far as trying to help sell tickets for the Truck Series race by moving the Sprint Showdown to Friday night. That makes perfect sense and I think it will work because people love seeing the Sprint Cup cars and getting more for your money is always a great thing. By putting qualifying on Saturday you get people in the track for a longer time and you make more money, which makes great sense as well.
Charlotte Motor Speedway hit a homerun with this move and it would have been a grand slam except for the one minor detail.

Positive Minor Changes - By Mark Eddinger

By moving the Sprint Showdown to the night before NASCAR has now created a night solely dedicated to the best in the sport on Saturday night. A true All-Star night. Only the race winners from the previous season and those who had won up to the May 17th All-Star Race date in 2014, along with the two drivers who race their way into the All-Star Race through the Showdown will be present.

Oh yeah and the fan vote driver. So maybe it won't be an true All-Star night since usually the driver that is voted in is not really worthy. That is the only aspect to this years version of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race weekend that I would change so far. Just get rid of the fan vote altogether.

The idea of having the Showdown on Friday night seems like a good idea. It will give fans more of a reason to come out to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday night to watch a Sprint Cup race and then also the Truck Series race.

The idea of having the qualifying for the All-Star Race on the same day as the actual race is also a good idea. The three-lap qualifying format with a four tire pit stop and no pit road speed is an exciting event which will fit in well on the day of the All-Star Race. Also the fact that the teams that earn their way into the All-Star Race on Friday have the chance to earn the starting position on the grid they deserve just like the other drivers who automatically make the race without having to race in the Showdown is a good move.

In no way is this new schedule or tweaking of the rules a little bit going to make the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race a billion times better than it's been in the past but it is some progress in a small step. Lots of changes are coming to the Sprint Cup Series, like new qualifying and most likely a new Chase format, so why not have a little change to the All-Star Race weekend as well.

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