Ever since 1987, Charlotte has hosted the all-star race. Some, including Kevin Harvick, figure it should be rotated to other venues like those other sports do. I would agree, only if I had a veto as to what tracks it went to. Even then, I am not sure I would ever agree to the change.
Do not get me wrong. I do not believe Charlotte always produces the greatest events, but it has three things in its favor. First, it is the home for most of the teams. I like that ole home kind of vibe that comes from having the event just down the road a piece from where they all live. Second, Charlotte has been the home to the longest, most demanding race of the year since 1960. That gives it status and tradition. Third, the all-star race is run just the week before the greatest weekend in auto sports. After the all-stars hit the track, the next weekend we have the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500, and the World 600 keeping us recording and watching races all through the day. The all-star race at Charlotte is a nice appetizer before we enjoy the main course.
Now, if the alternative to Charlotte was Daytona, Talladega, Sonoma, or Watkins Glen, then maybe. If it was Bristol, I would be tempted. Why? How about watching the action this weekend and you can tell me as to why that might make a good choice. If it keeps your butt glued to the seat, be it trackside or on your couch, that is always a good thing.
The all-star race is a month away. Bristol features our Hot 20, and the not so hot 19, this Saturday afternoon.
1. BRAD KESELOWSKI – 2 WINS – 274 PTS
Even if they fail to win their appeal, he will still sit among the top two come Monday.
2. KYLE LARSON – 1 WIN – 315 PTS
Along with Brad and that other Kyle, favored to take the checkers this weekend.
3. MARTIN TRUEX, JR. – 1 WIN – 275 PTS
Fall 2011, second. Spring 2012, third. The other 20 at Bristol, outside the Top Ten.
4. JIMMIE JOHNSON – 1 WIN – 190 PTS
So ends his horrific six-race winless streak. Oh, the humanity. Good Lord.
5. RYAN NEWMAN – 1 WIN – 163 PTS
Since he won, where has he gone?
6. KURT BUSCH – 1 WIN – 151 PTS
A theory is that Kurt and Ryan have been hanging out playing Pinochle on race day ever since.
7. CHASE ELLIOTT – 298 PTS
Before Junior, the most popular driver was an Elliott. After Junior, it might be again.
8. JOEY LOGANO – 243 PTS
On his Verizon commercial, he says “We don’t need more Joeys.” I am biting my tongue.
9. RYAN BLANEY – 224 PTS
Along with Larson, Elliott, and Jones, the next generation has arrived and they are damned good.
10. KYLE BUSCH – 211 PTS
Prior to 2012, was 5-for-14 at Bristol. Since they shaved the upper banking, he has been 0-for-9.
11. JAMIE MCMURRAY – 209 PTS
Arguably having his best season, including the Daytona, Indianapolis, Charlotte trifecta of 2010.
12. CLINT BOWYER – 204 PTS
Some drivers wear heart monitors, and some others are named Clint.
13. KEVIN HARVICK – 198 PTS
Obviously, does not like staying at home in mid-May.
14. TREVOR BAYNE – 164 PTS
Tennessee Trevor is intending to make Bristol Bayne country.
15. ERIK JONES – 159 PTS
The last first-year driver to win the title was…Red Byron…in 1949…in the division’s first year.
16. DENNY HAMLIN – 151 PTS
Springtime at Bristol over the past seven years has meant 19th or worse…except for 2014.
17. KASEY KAHNE – 147 PTS
With Bush Beans the pole sponsor, might one take it without even having to sit in a car?
18. ARIC ALMIROLA – 146 PTS
He loves Bristol…but will the feeling be mutual?
19. RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – 139 PTS
A pair of Xfinity titles and he is a former American Ninja Warrior. Okay, he also knows Danica.
20. DALE EARNHARDT JR. – 133 PTS
What? You were expecting Jeffrey?