Mon, 26 Jul 2021

Aric Almirola, Ross Chastain among those to shine at All-Star Open

Field Level Media
14 Jun 2021, 09:19 GMT+10

Four drivers advanced into Sunday evening's annual non-points-paying NASCAR All-Star Race as a result of successful runs in the All-Star Open qualifying event late Sunday afternoon at hot and humid Texas Motor Speedway.

Ross Chastain of Chip Ganassi Racing, Tyler Reddick of Richard Childress Racing and Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing advanced to the main event by winning one stage apiece of the three-round Open.

Matt DiBenedetto of the Wood Brothers Racing team advanced by winning a fan vote held online.

Chastain got the Round 1 win when he passed Reddick two laps from the end of the round. He earned the win despite having to start from the rear of the field for failing pre-race inspection.

Reddick led all 20 laps in Round 2 to earn his berth in the main event. He held off Almirola over the final couple laps to get the berth.

Almirola started P1 in Round 3, held off a challenge from DiBenedetto early and then pulled away to win the round and the All-Star berth.

The Open was conducted immediately before the All-Star Race in three rounds of 20 laps, 20 laps and a 10-lap shootout. It featured 22 teams and drivers who had not previously qualified for Sunday night's All-Star Race.

Seventeen drivers arrived in Texas having clinched All-Star berths. That list includes, alphabetically, Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, William Byron, Cole Custer, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr.

Criteria for eligibility includes Cup Series race-winners in 2020-2021 and full-time drivers who are either past All-Star winners or past Cup champions.

Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports -- who has won the last two Cup points races this season -- was scheduled to start the All-Star Race from the pole.

--Field Level Media

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