May 17, 2003 | 12:39 A.M. EST
In a Nutshell – Not the most engaging edition of the All-Star race.
Dramatic Moment – A last lap wreck during the second segment eliminated a lot of potential winners.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
What if they had a Winston and no one finished?
Can they use stunt drivers next year?
What got into Jeff Gordon, or who didn’t he get into? Then again if you were about to lose half your assets and had a high maintenance blonde girlfriend you’d get a little wild too. As we all know those Ferrari tuneups get expensive especially if you don’t know which end of screwdriver is the business end.
Should they randomly choose the number of cars inverted or allow the fans to continue inverting the maximum number every year?
When the crew chief of the Lowes car calls the race track “Charlotte” rather than Lowes Motor Speedway, how embarrassing is that?
Should Park have been called for jumping a restart when he was the leader coming to the green flag? Should the start of the third segment have been called back or did Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch make legal passes up the outside? Was the red flag appropriate with two laps left to run in the second segment.
Did Tony Stewart give Terry Labonte a helicopter ride home too?
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Bill Elliott has the worst luck in the Winston. He was carted away in an ambulance with potential foot injuries after the big second segment wreck.
Tony Stewart had a potentially dominant car destroyed in that same wreck. He wouldn’t have been back in the pack where the wreck happened if not for questionable pit strategy.
When Dale Earnhardt Jr. was eliminated in that same wreck his partisan fans began filing out of the track.
Ward Burton just flat out got parked while minding his own business.
Not only did Todd Bodine get wrecked while running up front in the Open his sponsor didn’t even get the TV exposure because FOX missed the wreck.
The top 20 drivers moved onto the second segment of the Winston. Wallace was in the top 20 with 59 miles, 5270 feet completed only to lose the transfer spot when Ricky Rudd passed him within ten feet of the finish line.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Humpy Wheeler, GM at LMS managed to get the race in despite a threatening weather forecast.
Joe Nemechek survived a spin in the first segment and came home fourth.
Sterling Marlin and Jeff Gordon barely missed the big wreck.
Steve Park didn’t make the Winston, but he did manage to eliminate Jeff Green driving Steve’s old ride in the first segment of the open.
Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch are the only driver to finish in the top 5 in both the 2002 and 2003 Winstons. Matt Kenseth, Ricky Craven and Kevin Harvick scored top 10s in both races.
No drivers have three straight top 10 finishes dating back to the 2001 Winston.
Chevrolet has won four of the last five Winstons but Fords have won the last four May points races at Lowes.
No rookie drivers made it into the final segment of the Winston this year.
Jeff Burton who earned his way into the big show through the open finished ninth.
Humpy Wheeler has now chosen nine out of the last fifteen Winston race winners.
Jimmy Johnson has now won all three segments of the Winston. It just took him two years to do it.
What’s the Points? There are no points which is the point.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) Give it three cans of lukewarm domestic stuff. This was a less than memorable running of the Winston.
Next Up – It back to Charlotte next week for the World 600, the longest race on the schedule.
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