NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
 
              === More money, format changes for all-star race ===
 
 Concord, NC (Sports Network) - The payday for the winner of this year's NASCAR
 Sprint  All-Star  Race could  be two times  more than it  has been in previous
 years.
 
 Officials from Charlotte Motor Speedway revealed on Tuesday that an additional
 $1  million will  go to one driver  who wins all four 20-lap segments and then
 takes  the  checkered flag for the  final 10-lap segment in the all-star (non-
 points)  race,  which is scheduled for  May 18. Jimmie Johnson won last year's
 event, collecting $1.07 million.
 
 Track  president  Marcus Smith  and defending Sprint  Cup Series champion Brad
 Keselowski  unveiled  a car made out  of $1 million while announcing the bonus
 for the all-star race.
 
 "I  don't have a  strategy but to win," Keselowski said. "I'm just going to go
 out  there and race as hard as I can to lead every lap, win every segment. And
 now it looks like I've got reason to do so."
 
 The  length of the race will remain the same as last year -- five segments for
 a  total  of 90 laps. A  mandatory four-tire pit  stop before the start of the
 final segment will continue as well.
 
 However,  NASCAR  has tweaked the  format. After  the completion of the fourth
 segment  (Lap  80), the  running order  will be  repositioned based on average
 finish  during the first four segments. The highest average finisher will lead
 the  field  onto pit road  for the  required stop. Then  the order of the cars
 returning to the track will determine how they lineup for the 10-lap sprint to
 the finish.
 
 "I  think last year  we had some of the best segments leading up to the 10-lap
 shootout  that  we've ever  seen," NASCAR vice  president of competition Robin
 Pemberton  said.  "This year puts more  importance on every lap because of the
 finishes  being  averaged into  each other. So  I think it's  a step to really
 heighten the competition."
 
 NASCAR  changed the race  format in 2012. The winners of the first four 20-lap
 segments  moved  up to the  front of the field  before the mandatory pit stop.
 Johnson won the first segment but played it safe by running in the back of the
 field during the next two rounds. He led all of the final 10 laps for the win.
 
 "This  new  format is  going to make  the teams step  up," said Johnson's crew
 chief, Chad Knaus, who attended the all-star race announcement. "You can't win
 this thing if you're not going to be in the top-six for that final segment. So
 you're  really going  to have  to push  hard to  make sure  you get  some good
 average finishes."
 
 Johnson,  the  five-time series champion,  won the  Daytona 500 for the second
 time on Sunday.
 
 The  eligibility  requirements for  the all-star race  stay the same. Eighteen
 drivers, including Johnson and Keselowski, are currently eligible. The top-two
 finishers  from the preliminary event and the fan vote winner will be added to
 the field.
 
 Any  additional drivers who  win a Sprint Cup race prior to the all-star event
 become eligible as well.
 
 02/26 23:37:35 ET

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