NASCAR hopes softer tires return the magic to All-Star race

NASCAR hopes softer tires return the magic to All-Star race

Kurt Busch appeared to have locked up the pole after finishing a second faster than Larson, but officials assessed a 10-second penalty after it was determined he had two loose lug nuts. And with it, he'll look to capitalize on the No. 1 starting spot after winning the pole on Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he registered a best speed of 143.839 miles per hour in the three-lap qualifier.

Kyle Busch and Johnson joined Harvick, Kurt Busch and Larson as the five finalists for the pole.

After taking his turn in the first qualifying round, Kyle Larson contemplated changing out of his uniform, figuring he wouldn't transfer to the final round.

"I'm excited about it", Larson said about Saturday's 70-lap exhibition race where teams will be given one set of the faster option tires.

Last year's victor: Joey Logano.

Joey Logano drives past crew members as he misses his pit stall during qualifying for Saturday's NASCAR Cup series All-Star auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., Friday, May 19, 2017.

Kyle Larson said he nearly changed out of his driver suit when he thought he no longer had a shot in qualifying on Friday.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified sixth, missing the cutoff for the final five by.092 seconds.

"I knew everybody would try to push a little bit harder that last round", Larson said of the two-round session.

Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip won the first in 1985 - back when it was simply called The Winston - and explained fans and drivers, alike, love it because it's a "no holds barred" type of race.

In a season when NASCAR has introduced stages to its points races, this year's All-Star event will borrow from an older format that calls for three 20-lap stages and the final 10-lap stage.

NASCAR has once again tweaked the rules. Three drivers will transfer as segment winners from the 50-lap Monster Energy Open preliminary race. They don't get a chance to make up for a mistake later - it's now or never. Despite a slight slip by his rear tire changer, Larson's team avoided the pitfalls that snagged the other four competitors who advanced to the final round of qualifying. "I feel like starting up front with the way that the tires are and the way that everything is will be a huge benefit".

"You have to run the tire at some point and in practice it did seem to have three- to four-tenths of more speed in it and I think it will be even more impactful when the sun goes down", Larson said.

He said drivers also love it because they can throw out the rulebook - not the whole thing, obviously, but it's part of what makes the race different.



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