This year's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race has a new format, and while it's a little bit confusing at first, it's bound to shake things up a bit.
Let's try to explain it as simply as possible.
• There are a total of five segments this year, beginning with a series of four 20-lap mini-races. At the end, there's a 10-lap shootout for the $1 million prize.
• Basically, you want to win a segment – and do so as early as possible – because the four segment winners get to line up at the front of the field coming to pit road for the final pit stop before the shootout (which is mandatory).
• At that point, the four segment winners will have a huge advantage because they can use pit strategy to try and win the race (by taking two tires, for example). And it's better to win a segment early because P1 coming to the final stop will go to the driver who won Segment 1; P2 goes to the Segment 2 winner, and so on.
It's all going to come down to pit strategy for the final 10 laps, and it'll be interesting to see whether a driver on old tires can use track position to hold off a driver with fresher tires over the final run.
So with that, here's a look at the NASCAR All-Star Race weekend schedule (Note: All times are Eastern):
7 p.m. – NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge at Time Warner Cable Arena (airs starting at 8 p.m. on SPEED)
9 a.m. – Camping World Truck Series practice (one hour)
10:20 a.m. – Camping World Truck Series final practice (one hour, 30 minutes)
12 p.m. – Sprint Showdown final practice (one hour, 25 minutes)
1:35 p.m. – Sprint All-Star Race final practice (one hour, 25 minutes)
4 p.m. – Camping World Truck Series qualifying
5 p.m. – Sprint Showdown qualifying (regular two-lap qualifying)
6 p.m. – Sprint All-Star Race qualifying (three laps with a mandatory pit stop and four-tire change)
8 p.m. – Camping World Truck Series race
7:30 p.m. – Sprint Showdown (two segments of 20 laps each; top two finishers transfer to All-Star Race)
Approx. 9 p.m. – Sprint All-Star Race (five segments consisting of four 20-lap segments and a 10-lap shootout)