NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. – William Byron will start from row three for Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
Driving the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Byron finished the 60-lap heat race in third. Austin Dillon got by him for second with seven laps to go in the heat. Byron’s result earns him the sixth starting spot in the all-star event.
Teammate Kyle Larson was also in the second heat race. He started fifth and got to fourth with 20 laps to go, but a bump from Bubba Wallace sent Larson up the track. As a result, the 2021 Cup Series champion was stuck on the outside and lost a few spots. He finished the heat in eighth and will start the main event from 16th in the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
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Chase Elliott finished seventh in the opening 60-lap heat race. He led the first 26 laps in his No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 before being caught by Daniel Suarez. Elliott got stuck on the outside for the first part of the final 19-lap run and lost several spots in the running order. For the All-Star Race, he will start 13th.
Wet weather tires played a role in both heat races. In the first heat race, the teams started on wet weather tires since rain had made the track damp. A competition caution on lap 34 to check for tire wear led to non-competitive pit stops where teams put on another set on wet weather tires. In the second heat race, the teams started on slicks before switching to wet weather tires under caution in non-competitive pit stops on lap 30.
Suarez and Chris Buescher are on the front row for the All-Star Race. The results of the first heat race set the inside lane, while the results of the second heat race set the outside lane.
Larson topped the 50-minute practice session on Friday, while Byron placed seventh. On Saturday, Larson was victorious in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race at the .625-mile track.
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On Sunday, the All-Star Open (5:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio-Channel 90) will get things started. Josh Berry will line up second in the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The Open is a 100-lap race with a competition break around lap 40 and Berry will look to be one of the top-two finishers to transfer into the main event.
Following the Open, the All-Star Race will take place (8 p.m. ET (on FS1, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio-Channel 90). That race will be 200 laps with a competition break at or around lap 100. Following the competition break, only one additional set of sticker tires can be used. The winner of the event will take home $1 million.
The All-Star Race marks the first Cup Series action at the .625-mile track in 27 years. North Wilkesboro hosted 93 Cup Series races from 1949 to 1996 and is the fifth track to host the all-star event. The Rick Hendrick-owned organization swept the final season of points-paying races as part of its four wins at the facility. Jeff Gordon won the last Cup Series race to date there on Sept. 29, 1996. Terry Labonte won the spring races in 1994 and 1996 and Geoff Bodine won the fall race in 1989.
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Hendrick Motorsports has won the All-Star Race 10 times, which leads all organizations and is more than double of all the teams tied for second (at four wins). Five drivers have accounted for Hendrick Motorsports’ all-star victories, which is also the most among all teams. Jimmie Johnson leads the way with four wins (2003, 2006, 2012 and 2013), which is also the most among all drivers in all-star history. Gordon is next with three wins (1995, 1997 and 2001) and he is also the youngest winner of the event at 23 years, 9 months and 16 days. Labonte (1999), Elliott (2020) and Larson (2021) each have won the event once with the organization. The Johnson, Gordon and Labonte victories all came at Charlotte Motor Speedway, while Elliott won at Bristol Motor Speedway and Larson won at Texas Motor Speedway.