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North Wilkesboro NASCAR Weekend Primer: TV Schedule, Race Info, Entry Lists

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What’s Happening?

The NASCAR All-Star race returns to North Wilkesboro Speedway this weekend. The race features a new racing surface, a new format, and a new tire compound, but, it also features the same $1 Million cash prize for the winner. Here’s everything you need to know about the weekend.

  • The NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series partner up for this weekend. While the Cup Series event is a non-points race, the Truck Series race is a points race, and the Truck Series has only 7 races left in the regular season.
  • North Wilkesboro Speedway opened in 1946, and it is one of NASCAR’s original tracks. From 1949 until 1996, both North Wilkesboro and Martinsville were the only two tracks to remain on the schedule every year. After NASCAR left the track in 1996, the track sat largely dormant for nearly 30 years before a collaborative effort between SMI, the State of North Carolina, and others saw the track reborn.
  • Fans are excited for North Wilkesboro this weekend. While some are skeptical about how the racing will be on the new surface, NASCAR’s experimenting keeps the intrigue up.

Weekend TV Schedule (All Times ET)

Friday, May 17th: All-Star Friday

  • 3:00-4:00 PM – Craftsman Truck Series Practice on FS1
  • 4:30-5:25 PM – Cup Series Practice on FS1
  • 5:40-6:10 PM – Cup Series All-Star Open Qualifying on FS1
  • 6:20 PM-7:30 PM – Cup Series Qualifying/Pit Crew Challenge on FS1

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Saturday, May 18th: Craftsman Truck Series RACE/Cup Series Heat Races

  • 10:30-11:30 AM – Craftsman Truck Series Qualifying on FS1
  • 1:00-1:30 PM – NASCAR RaceDay on FS1
  • 1:30 PM – Craftsman Truck Series Wright Brand 250 on FS1
  • 5:20 PM – Cup Series All-Star Heat Race 1 on FS1
  • 6:10 PM – Cup Series All-Star Heat Race 1 on FS1

Sunday, May 19th: Cup Series RACE

  • 5:30 PM – Cup Series All-Star Open on FS1
  • ~7:00-8:00 PM – NASCAR RaceDay on FS1
  • 8:00 PM – Cup Series All-Star Race on FS1

All-Star Race Format

For the full details on the 2024 All-Star Race format, check out the article above. However, here are the highlights of the format.

  • Eligibility: Drivers who qualify for the All-Star Race include points race-winners since the beginning of 2023, past All-Star Race Winners, and past Champions. The rest of the chartered drivers and teams go into the All-Star Open.
  • Qualifying: The Qualifying Session on Friday will determine the lineups for the All-Star Heat Races on Saturday and the Open on Sunday. The pit stop times in the Pit Crew Challenge determines the pit stall selection order for Sunday. The finishing order of the Saturday Heat races determines the lineup for Sunday.
  • Tires: Teams have 3 tire compounds to choose from. There’s the prime (normal race tires), option (Faster but wears out quicker), and wet weather tires. Teams must use both dry tire compounds in all racing events if there is no rain, and there will be at least one scheduled caution for a mandatory 4-tire pit stop.
  • The Open: The Open is 100 laps, and the top-2 finishers transfer to the main event. There will be a caution at lap 50 for teams to change tires. The leading vote getter in the fan vote amongst those who did not finish in the top-2 in the open finish will get the last spot in the All-Star Race.
  • The All-Star Race: The All-Star Race is 200 laps with cautions scheduled for lap 100 and lap 150. Teams are required to start on Option tires, and a 4-tire pit stop is required at lap 100.

Race Facts

North Wilkesboro Speedway

  • Year Built: 1946
  • Length: 0.625 Miles
  • Banking: 13 Degrees in Turns 1-2; 3 Degrees on Straightaways
  • Surface: Asphalt (Repaved before 2024 season)
  • Lights?: Yes
  • Rain Tires?: Yes

Truck Series

  • Race Length: 250 Laps (156.25 Miles)
  • Stages: 70 Laps (Stage 1 and 2), 110 Laps (Stage 3)
  • 2023 Winner: Kyle Larson
  • Purse: $730,651

Cup Series

  • Race Length: 200 Laps (125 MIles)
  • Stages: 100 Laps (Stage 1), 50 Laps (Stages 2 and 3)
  • 2023 Winner: Kyle Larson
  • Purse (Open): $678,700
  • Purse (All-Star Race): $3,784,525 ($1 Million to the winner)

Entry List

Truck Series

A total of 38 trucks are on the entry list for only 36 spots, meaning 2 drivers will go home. Notable entrants include Brenden Queen (No. 1), Clayton Green (No. 04), Sammy Smith (No. 7), Trey Hutchens (No. 14), Aric Almirola (No. 16), Josh Reaume (No. 22)Dawson Sutton (No. 26), Ross Chastain (No. 45), Conner Jones (No. 66), Justin Carroll (No. 90), and Jack Wood (No. 91).

Cup Series (All-Star Open)

All 19 chartered teams without a current All-Star eligible driver are entered this weekend. Kaz Grala will pilot the No. 15 for Rick Ware Racing as the only All-Star Car entered in the open. MBM Motorsports is the only non-chartered entry with Timmy Hill driving the No. 66 car. Three drivers will transfer to the All-Star Race, the top-2 finishers in the Open and the fan vote winner.

Cup Series (All-Star Race)

A total of 17 drivers are currently entered in the All-Star Race, but, the Open and fan vote will bring the final car count to 20. SVG is the only All-Star eligible driver not entered.

What to Watch For

Truck Series

The 2023 Truck Series race at North Wilkesboro was a unique one. A total of 5 full-time Cup Series drivers were in teh field as Kyle Larson took home the win. The top Truck Series regulars were Corey Heim (led 75 laps) and Ty Majeski (Finished 2nd), so, these two are ones to watch.

Cup Series

The 2023 All-Star Race turned into the Kyle Larson show after a tire strategy play where he went from last to first at the end of segment 1. However, a new racing surface and new tire compounds make this race a complete unknown.

This article will be updated as more news on the weekend is released.

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