CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Motor Speedway officials announced Wednesday that Grammy-nominated country music artist Dierks Bentley will perform a pre-race concert as part of the fanfare surrounding the annual NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race May 21.
The concert, free with the purchase of a ticket to that night’s race, will begin at 2:30 p.m. between turns one and two at the 1.5-mile superspeedway in Concord, N.C. The first 3,000 fans to purchase frontstretch tickets to the All-Star Race can ask for the Golden Ticket package, which allows early access to the concert and automatically enters fans for a chance to meet Bentley, who has sold more than five million albums and had seven No. 1 hits.
Speedway President Marcus Smith and 2008 All-Star winner Kasey Kahne were on hand to make the announcement at Whisky River, a nightclub owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, Wednesday afternoon. Smith also outlined activities during the rest of the All-Star Race week, which will once again include everything from the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge May 19 at Time-Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte to the Pennzoil Ultra Burnout Contest on the frontstretch of CMS leading up to the night’s non-points, $1 million-to-win main event.
Because the Sprint All-Star Race is a non-points event for competitors, speedway officials have, over the event’s 26 years, created new rules and altered the race’s format in an attempt to add extra excitement to the event. For the 27th running of the All-Star Race, however, speedway officials will not be altering the event’s four-segment format.
“Every year we announce some great change to the All-Star Race that makes it even better, even more exciting. With the race we had last year and the year before that, the big change is there’s not going to be a change,” Smith said. “We decided it’s time to leave it like it is, leave well enough alone, and let the guys go for it, get out there, not worry about the points, go for the money, go for the fun, and I think the fans are going to really enjoy it.”
Sprint Cup Series race winners from the last two seasons are eligible for the Sprint All-Star Race, along with past champions and past event winners from the last 10 years. The winner and runner-up of the 40-lap Sprint Showdown last qualifier race will also transfer into the All-Star Race, along with the winner of a fan vote.
“I think one of the best parts of the All-Star Race is it’s just all out; you can do whatever you want. You don’t have to worry about points,” Kahne said. “One thing about the Sprint Cup Series is that there’s so much [focus] on points, so much [focus] on making the Chase and that’s where everyone wants to be. So you can race the All-Star Race and go all out and try to win the money and put on a great show for the fans. It’s always exciting. It’s always a good weekend to be a part of.”