WBKR NASCAR Preview: The Sprint All-Star Challenge by Blake Smith

With a 36-week racing schedule and limited off time, drivers and teams look forward to the three Charlotte-based events each season. This weekend’s All-Star Challenge, formerly known as the Winston, marks the first of these weeks for the 2012 season. The format for the All-Star Challenge has changed but the level of excitement on Saturday night will be just as high!

There are currently 20 drivers entered for the “main event.” This list is made up of 19 2011 and 2012 race winners. The 20th driver is Mark Martin who won the event in 2005. When the green flag drops for the first of 4 segments, there will be 23 drivers in the field. The final 3 positions are made up of first and second place finishers in the Show Down Race and the fan vote. The Sprint Showdown entry list consists of 22 drivers -- drivers who have not won races during the 2012 and 2011 seasons. They will all be racing for the top 2 finishing positions to secure their spot in the Sprint All-Star Race. Fans can still vote for their favorite driver to make the race on the fan vote at www.nascar.com/allstar .

The Sprint All-Star race consists of 4 20-lap segments and a final 10-lap segment. The driver in victory lane after Saturday night’s final 10-lap sprint will take home a cool million dollars! The driver in victory lane will have to have a setup that is good from the drop of the green flag to the black and white. This will be the opposite of what is needed for next weekend’s Coca-Cola 600.

Don’t miss a night of great racing from NASCAR’s hub, Charlotte Motor Speedway! Coverage begins Saturday at 5 p.m. on WBKR and WBKR.com!

-- Blake Smith