FORT Worth, Texas ( Associated Press) — Brad Keselowski was runner-up in the NASCAR All-Star Race in Texas last year and has led more laps on the 1 1/2-mile track than anyone who has never won here.
Kiselowski is in a very different position going into Sunday night’s All-Star race, the non-points showing collapsed right in the middle of 26 races before NASCAR’s playoff chase.
Now with an ownership stake in their Cup Series team, RFK Racing with Jack Roush, it has been a challenging first season in that role for the 2012 Cup champions, who were also series runners-up just two years earlier.
“Oh, it’s been eventful. There’s a lot going on,” Kiselowski said with a laugh. “While we are growing as a team and transforming as a team, we face the challenge of winning the race.”
Kiselowski is one of 20 drivers still locked in the 24-car All-Star field, which includes former Cup champions and race winners since early 2021. He fits into both of those categories despite going without a win this year and currently ranked 31st. Standing. This is 12 spots less than their No. 6 RFK Racing entry, NASCAR’s 100-point penalty would be without. After a race to Atlanta to illegally modify the supplied part on the new Next Gen car.
Current Series Champion Kyle Larson In his first season with Chip Ganassi Racing since taking the checkered flag in Charlotte in 2019, he won his first two All-Star starts with Hendricks Motorsports last year. Larson missed the 2020 All-Star race while being suspended by NASCAR for using a racial slur during a livestreamed race.
Larsen shut down hard-charging Keselowski last June After a slick three-wide pass for the lead during the final 10-lap shootout in the All-Star Race. It was Keselowski’s third runner-up All-Star finish. Larson later won the fall playoff race in Texas.
While there are no points on the line on Sunday night, there is $1 million for the winner. A strong performance could be a big boost for a driver like Kiselowski, who moves into the second half of the regular season, who needs to win one of 13 races to extend his playoff streak to nine consecutive appearances.
When asked what success this season would bring, Kiselowski simply replied, “Winning a cup race.”
Before the Daytona 500, Kiselowski won one of the two 150-mile qualifying races, and teammate Chris Buscher won the other. A ninth-place finish in that season-opening points race is the only top 10 this season for Kiselowski, who has led 654 laps in his 26 Texas races.
“There have been weeks where we feel we are close,” he said. “And the week where I think we were a mile apart, and a few things in between.”
Drivers can certainly take a different approach in the All-Star Race.
“There’s a completely different set of how the race is going to unfold and things like that, but you essentially still have your stages, but they’re mostly shorter,” Kyle Busch said. “Plus, it’s about going out there and trying to win that million dollars and trying to bring home the check or bring home the steering wheel.”
Bush, who won in Kansaso Last weekend, said that being in the All-Star Race is “one of the most fun things” that drivers get to do every year.
“It’s fun to be a part of it,” said Kevin Harvick.
There will be four stages of racing for this all-star race for a total of 125 laps. The first three sections will be 25 laps, with the winner of each starting up to $1 million for the final 50-lap run. There will also be a pit stop competition before that fourth stage, in which the winning team will also start from the front two rows.
It’s more straightforward than the All-Star Race debut in Texas last year, when there were 100 laps in six sections that included inverted gimmicks. There were four 15-lap stages, and a 30-lap one which included a pit stop contest before the final 10-lap shootout.
odds and ends
Larson’s FanDuel Sportsbook Favorites to win their third All-Star Race, which would tie Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jeff Gordon for the second most All-Star wins behind Jimmy Johnson’s four. … The final four places for the All-Star Race will be determined before Sunday. The 50-lap race will feature 16 drivers divided into three stages. The winner of each stage will advance to the All-Star Race, and the final place will be chosen via a fan vote.
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