[media-credit name=”charlottemotorspeedway.com” align=”alignright” width=”199″][/media-credit]The stars have come home to Charlotte for this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint All Star Race, and this year brings new drivers, a new format, but the same old distinction. A million dollars rides on the driver able to cross the finish line first following 90 or so laps at The Beast of the Southeast. Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint All Star Race will be run in 4-20 lap segments, with the four segment-winners staging at the front of the field for the final 10-lap shootout to the wire for the cool million. 90 or more laps will make up the All Star race this year, as only green flag laps count in the final 10-lap shootout.
Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race wins, with three under his belt already. Carl Edwards made his mark on Charlotte Motor Speedway last season when he practically ripped the front end of his Ford Fusion off from the rest of the car, following his turn through the front-stretch grass in celebration of his first NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race win.
Some big names still need to race (or be voted) into the big dance on Saturday Night, namely Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Burton, and Jamie McMurray. The way to earn a ticket to the big dance – finish in the top two of the Sprint Showdown is a surefire way, the other – be at the top of the Sprint Fan Vote. Much like Friday and Saturday night home-track races, there’s an A-main and a B-main tonight in Concord. The Sprint Showdown will be ran in two segments of 20 laps each, with the top two finishers moving onto tonight’s A-main.
With the absence of NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship points comes an extreme level of action and daring driving. Settling for second is never a thought in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race, making it one of my favorite race weekends of the entire Sprint Cup season.
The Lady in Black tamed my recent hot streak of winner picks last week, a result of the toughness Darlington Raceway brings to the sport.
I picked last week’s pole-sitter, Greg Biffle to win the Bojangles’ Southern 500, a move that looked fairly promising for 74 or so laps last Saturday Night. Biffle’s car seemed to go away as the laps ticked away, battling loose conditions through the latter of the laps at Darlington. He ran in the top-10 for the majority of the race, but the late-race caution set the field up for a green-white-checkered finsh. Biffle restarted 10th, but his 3M Ford Fusion was too much of a handful to muscle into the top-10, ultimately crossing the finish line in 12th.
My Dark Horse last week qualified for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 in the sixth spot, and ended the race one spot better in fifth. Martin Truex Jr. also battled a loose condition throughout the duration of the race and ran as high as first, but only faltered back to 11th last week. He lead a season high 25 laps and managed to hold his 5th place spot in the championship points standings.
There is so much to pick for tonight’s All-Star festivities, so I will try to keep my picks short and sweet this week…
Kicking off tonight’s on-track activities is the B-main or LCQ (if you’re used to motorcycle racing), otherwise known as the Sprint Showdown. The Showdown is packed with guys eager to have a shot at racing for the cool million, but its Martin Truex Jr. and Jeff Burton that will punch their tickets to the big dance by racing their way into the A-main. Both will start in the top-5 for the Showdown and practiced well on Friday.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not race his way into the Sprint All-Star race, but will have a shot at the million via JR Nation. The will vote in droves following his third-place effort in the Sprint Showdown, but JR will start last on the grid for the NASCAR All-Star Race by receiving the 2012 fan vote for the second straight year.
NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race
Here’s the segment winners first:
1- Kyle Busch
2- Jimmie Johnson
3- Jeff Gordon
4 – Tony Stewart
Starting in the top-4 spots of the 10-lap shootout for tonight’s million-dollar purse will be one Toyota and three Chevrolets. In the end, it will be Stewart claiming victory in the All-Star race. He was at Thursday night’s Pit Crew Challenge, and was disappointed when his Stewart-Haas Racing crew was knocked out of the competition in the semi-finals. The defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion is out for revenge tonight and will go home a million dollars richer when the checkered falls.
That’s all for this week, so until next week’s Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500, and Coke 600…You Stay Classy NASCAR NATION!