NASCAR Race Review: Sprint All-Star Race

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Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. Today’s NASCAR race review is really two races. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series had their annual Sprint All-Star Race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night. All Sprint Cup winners from this year and last year are in the race. Also included are winners of the All-Star Race in the last ten years and Cup Champions from the last ten years. Qualifying included a pit stop. 18 Kyle Busch starts from the pole while 33 Clint Bowyer starts second and 16 Greg Biffle starts third. Each received a monetary award for their qualifying effort. Each Team entered competed in the Pit Crew Challenge on Thursday to determine pit selection. 11 Denny Hamlin won the Challenge for the second time in a row. He will have first pit selection.

The non-winners get a chance to race in the Sprint All-Star Race by competing in the Sprint Showdown. The winner and second place move up to compete in the Sprint All-Star Race. So there are two race reviews. And the fans get to vote their favorite into the Sprint All-Star Race.

Before the races a few of the drivers competed in the Penzoil Burn Out Competition. There were no real rules that the drivers were aware of. The judges liked 18 Kyle Busch, 4 Kasey Kahne and 20 Joey Logano. They put them to the fans to decide on the winner. The fans declared Kasey Kahne the winner of the Penzoil Burn Out Competition. (He was my pick also. The media, of course, would have declared Kyle the winner.)

First, the Sprint Showdown. 6 David Ragan starts on the Pole with a qualifying speed of 191.68 mph and 28.172 seconds, the fastest qualifying speed all year. 43 A. J. Allmendinger starts second. This is a 40 lap race in two 20 lap segments. In the second segment, only Green laps count. Logano made an engine change and will start from the rear.

6 takes off from the Pole position. 34 Tony Raines bounces off the wall but continues. 47 Bobby Labonte gets into the wall. The first caution comes out when 09 Landon Cassill blows a tire, gets sideways, and 64 Derrike Cope rams him in the driver side door.

6 and 43 battle for the lead at the restart and 6 takes the lead. 43 and 27 Paul Menard battle for second back and forth and 27 takes second. 27 catches up to 6. 20 almost gets into the grass to get by 31 Jeff Burton. The second caution comes out to indicate the end of Segment one. The drivers can pit if they want to but the pitting is not mandatory. Ragan led all 20 laps  of the first segment.

6, 27, 2 Brad Keselowski and a few others stay out. 2 takes the lead, shoving his way through at the restart from third. The caution comes out when 30 David Stremme slaps the wall. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. makes a pit stop as his car is plowing and he won’t win with the car as it is. The caution comes out again at the restart. 20, trying to go between 6 and 2, puts 27 into the wall. 31 and 83 Brian Vickers get together and 83 spins. They restart again.

56 Martin Truex, Jr. and 27 get together as 9 Marcos Ambrose goes by on top. 6 catches leader, 2. 6 drives under 2 and clears for the lead. 6 David Ragan wins the Sprint Showdown. Regan and Keselowski will race in the Sprint All-Star Race.

The Sprint All-Star Race is one hundred qualifying laps! The media turned driver introductions into WWE, talking about fights. Personally, I didn’t tune in to see fighting. I tuned in to see racing. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. of course, won the fan vote and was introduced last to much cheering.

Segment one is 40 laps and drivers must make a four tire pit stop after 25 laps. 18 leads from the pole. 99 Carl Edwards drives under 33 Clint Bowyer for third. 16 Greg Biffle drives around everyone on the outside to take the lead. 29 Kevin Harvick and 5 Jimmie Johnson (Lowes 5% promotion) battle for position and 5 takes the spot. 18 and 16 race side by side for the lead. 18 goes low and 16 squeezes him down. 99 gets by 18 for second.

On lap 25 everyone makes a pit stop. 2 has no brakes and stays out until everyone else pits. The first caution comes out to indicate segment one is over. 16 Greg Biffle is the winner.

The second segment is twenty laps. 99 and 4 Kasey Kahne start on the front row. 99 chooses the inside and leads. 5 gets by 18. 16 drives under 18. 17 Matt Kenseth gets by 18. 5 gets by 4. The second caution comes out when 4 gets into the wall. 16 was all over the back of the car and got him loose in the corner. 99 chooses the outside this time and 5 takes the lead. 99 takes the lead back. And 99 Carl Edwards wins segment 2.

Segment 3 is another 20 laps. 99 chooses the inside, he doesn’t get going and 18 takes the lead. The caution comes out for spinning 78 Regan Smith. The cockpit is filled with smoke. 24 Jeff Gordon is in second. 18 chooses the inside and 24 falls back. 99 catches 18, they battle for the lead and 99 flies by 18 for the lead. 99 Carl Edwards wins Segment 3.

There is a ten minute break where the crew can work on the cars and refuel but they may not change tires. After the ten minutes, they line up behind the pace car the way they finished segment 3. 78 needs a push before they can make their mandatory four tire pit stop. They will line up for the final segment by how they come out of the pits. Ten Green Laps to go.

99 comes out first and chooses the inside. 16 and 18 battle for second. 22 Kurt Busch (last year’s winner) gets into the wall. 5 gets into 25 Mark Martin and 25 heads for the garage. 14 Tony Stewart gets by 16. 99 Carl Edwards wins the Sprint All-Star Race with 18 and 00 David Reutimann in second and third. He wins $1.2 million. Carl does a burn out in the grass and hits a manhole cover to wreck his car! He then gets out to do is back-flip.

The media was bragging on how this race was made for Kyle Busch. But once again, he does not win. In fact he has four DNF’s in five All-Star races. This time he managed to finish. In second. And no one (except the media this time) remembers who came in second. For all his wins in the lower Series’ he can’t seem to be able to beat the Big Boys when it counts.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing.

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