2012 Sprint All-Star Review: The No. 48 Team Dominates All-Star Week

Sprint Showdown: Dale Jr Back To Victory Lane

AJ Allmendinger put his No. 22 Pennzoil Dodge on the pole; however, as the field was coming out of Turn 4 to take the green-flag, Allmendinger was forced to pit for a flat left front tire. This moved Allmendinger to the back of the field, remaining on the lead lap. Allmendinger’s loss was Dale Earnhardt Jr’s gain. Because of Allmendinger’s misfortune, Earnhardt took over the pole position, with Martin Truex Jr. starting in second. Earnhardt looked like a bullet shot out of a gun when he jumped out to a 1.398 second lead over Truex within three laps of the green-flag.

Earnhardt held onto the lead through the end of the 20-lap segment. While under caution, majority of the teams from third position back went down pit road for adjustments. Earnhardt remained on track to hold onto the lead for the restart and once again jumped ahead of the field by half a straight away. After starting in the back of the field, Jamie McMurray stayed on track during this caution to pick up the second position.

[media-credit name=”Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]Allmendinger and Truex battled aggressively for third position for nearly 10 laps, with Allmendinger finally taking the position with 12 laps to go. Allmendinger then caught McMurray with 10 laps to go, battling for the position to advance to the All-Star race. This battle continued in the final ten laps – all the while, Dale Jr. held onto a two second lead.

With a lap and a half to go, McMurray got loose coming off the backstretch which allowed Allmendinger to get under his bumper and make an aggressive pass on him. Earnhardt went on to win the Sprint Showdown, with Allmendinger getting the second place transfer spot. “I got to give most of the credit of our performance to the team”, Earnhardt said. “They put a great car out on the line today that was fast right out the gate.”

Earnhardt was assumed by many to win the fan vote. With Earnhardt winning the showdown race, this opened up the fan vote to Bobby Labonte. “Actually, the story is two weeks ago we weren’t even going to show up here because this is not in our budget to run this race”, Labonte said. “Guys stepped up, so we got this far. Hopefully we can just keep going. Again, just thank the fans for doing that. That’s really a great deal.”

 

Sprint All-Star Race: Johnson Steals All-Star Victory

Kyle “Rowdy” Busch started on the pole for the race, with Ryan “Rocket Man” Newman on the outside pole. Jimmie Johnson showed he had a fast car right off the bat, taking over the lead on Lap 16. After the first segment ended, pit stops and strategy began to play out. Jimmie Johnson pitted twice under this caution; while seven other drivers, including Earnhardt and Denny Hamlin, did not make a pit stop. Hamlin restarted the race in first position, with a fast Earnhardt restarting in 6th position.

Caution waved on Lap 26 when Carl Edwards’ engine expired. The race restarted on Lap 31 with Hamlin and Marcos Ambrose, who did not pit, leading the field. Just one lap later, Kenseth wasted no time taking over the second position from Ambrose. On the same lap, Earnhardt began to put pressure on Ambrose for third position. Kenseth took over the lead just before the end of the second segment, with Earnhardt taking over third.

Seven drivers stayed out under caution, allowing Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, and Kevin Harvick to take over the top three positions. Right at the start-finish line, Kahne tried his best to steal the lead from Keselowski, but was about an inch shy of taking it.

Beginning the fourth segment, Kurt Busch took over the lead of the race after staying on track under caution. It only took Earnhardt, who restarted in second, two laps to take over the lead. Running on old tires, Busch dropped back to fourth position, as Allmendinger and Kahne took over the second and third positions.

Caution waved on Lap 68 when the second Roush Fenway Ford of Greg Biffle, lost an engine. With 16 to go on the restart, Earnhardt took over the lead once again and jumped out to a hefty lead.  As the final segment came to a close, the 10-lap shootout began. Johnson led the field off pit road, with Kenseth, Keselowski, and Earnhardt following. In the same week that his No. 48 Lowes team won the pit crew challenge, Johnson took his Lowes Chevrolet to victory lane in the All-Star race for the third time in his career. This win has tied Johnson for most All-Star victories with Dale Earnhardt and his teammate, Jeff Gordon.

[media-credit name=”Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images” align=”alignright” width=”342″][/media-credit]At the end of the race, instead of driving the flag around the track in victory, Johnson took his car owner for a victory lap. Rick Hendrick was at the end of pit road and told Johnson to come pick him up. Once Hendrick put his leg inside the car, he was in for a ride.  Rather than driving his owner to victory lane, Johnson took his car owner for a little joy ride around the tri-oval.  Rick waved to the fans around the track in a humorous manner. Johnson won a total of $1,071,340 with his All-Star win.

Race Results : Sprint All-Star Race
Sprint All-Star Race – May 19, 2012 – Exhibition

Pos. No. Driver Make Speed Time Bnd
1 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 0 90 Running
2 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge 0 90 Running
3 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 0 90 Running
4 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 0 90 Running
5 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 0 90 Running
6 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 0 90 Running
7 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 0 90 Running
8 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 0 90 Running
9 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 0 90 Running
10 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 0 90 Running
11 22 AJ Allmendinger Dodge 0 90 Running
12 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet 0 90 Running
13 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 0 90 Running
14 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 0 90 Running
15 21 Trevor Bayne Ford 0 90 Running
16 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 0 90 Running
17 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 0 90 Running
18 34 David Ragan Ford 0 90 Running
19 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 0 90 Running
20 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 0 90 Running
21 55 Mark Martin Toyota 0 90 Running
22 16 Greg Biffle Ford 0 67 Out of Race
23 99 Carl Edwards Ford 0 25 Out of Race

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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