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Friday night showdown

Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service Wednesday, Jan 29 1431

A major scheduling change for the May 16-17 Sprint All-Star Race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway will move the Sprint Showdown qualifying race from its traditional Saturday slot before the main event to a day earlier.

Pole qualifying for the All-Star Race will fill the Saturday time slot formerly held by the Showdown. Accordingly, the two drivers who transfer from the Showdown, as well as the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote (which will be announced Friday after the Showdown) will take part in time trials rather than be added to the back of the field as in previous years.

The change not only adds value to a Friday ticket, which also includes a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, but it also highlights enhances the focus on qualifying, with its mandatory four-tire pit stop and full-speed entry to and exit from pit road.

"I think with the excitement of that full-speed qualifying, if you haven't seen it before, you just realize how intense it is," CMS president Marcus Smith said. "That was one big factor. The other factor was that the Showdown was being confused by a lot of newer fans.

"They just really didn't realize what was going on with the Showdown versus the All-Star Race, so we wanted to simplify it and make that Showdown stand on its own, because it's a great race in itself. This actually gives more focus to the Showdown -- it does put it on Friday night. That's going to make Friday an awesome ticket."

The price of admission for Friday's action starts at $25, with children age 13 and under admitted free.

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