Drivers Set for All-Star Shootout

Kyle Busch

Joe Gibbs Racing has dominated on the big tracks this season. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

Share:

CONCORD, N.C. - After all the the hype and hubbub, tonight’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star race is a 10-lap shootout.

It’s simple, put the best drivers in Sprint Cup on the track, give them 10 laps and reward the winner with $1 million.

Then stand back and enjoy the show.

Through the years, this event has pitted brothers against each other and even teammates against one another. This race also has given fans the unforgettable quote from Darrell Waltrip, who said of Rusty Wallace: “I hope he chokes on the $200,000’’ after Wallace spun Waltrip out the lead in the 1989 event. And this race gave fans that remarkable finish in 1992 when Davey Allison crashed in a duel with Kyle Petty coming to the finish line.

Maybe another memory will be created tonight.

For all this race is to fans, it has added meaning to drivers. Sure, they want the $1 million - or $2 million if they win all five segments in the 90-lap race. Tonight can help for next week. This race is the only time cars will be on the track in conditions similar to what they should face during next weekend’s Coca-Cola 600. That race also is in the evening but all the practice sessions are during the day.

“I think you're going to learn some stuff in the All-Star race that's going to help you in the 600,’’ Matt Kenseth said. “I think the biggest thing you're going to learn is how the track changes ... and hopefully we'll be able to apply that to next week's practice to the race.’’

It will be interesting to see if anyone can unseat Joe Gibbs Racing. The organization has won every race at a non-restrictor-plate track greater than 1 mile (Las Vegas, Auto Club Speedway, Texas, Kansas and Darlington).

“I really feel like as an organization we've been pretty strong everywhere,’’ Kenseth said. “I feel like there's a couple where we've been off a little bit, but one of them was California (Auto Club Speedway) and Denny (Hamlin) was leading the last lap and Kyle (Busch) won. So, yeah, I mean I think their cars have pretty fast everywhere.’’

The unique rules, though, could help others. After the fourth segment, the field will be aligned based on their average finish in those segments. That’s how the cars will head to pit road for the mandatory four-tire pit stop. How they exit pit road is how they’ll start the final 10-lap segment.

“I think the rules are right this year,’’ Busch said. “Last year, you're exactly right, you win a segment and you roll in the back.  We all knew that and that was the strategy you have to play. Jimmie (Johnson) played it the best obviously. For this year, that's entirely out the window. You have to run each segment as hard as you can. You have to stay up front to keep your average finish as good as you can.  

“There's going to be a lot of things playing out in between the segments with pit stops, tire strategy, do you take two (tires), do you stay out, do you come in and get four if there's a yellow in the middle of a segment, do you pit then and get yourself ready for the next segment?  There's a whole bunch of different things that could certainly lie in the race and I think it's going to make it a lot more fun not only for the fans, but for the crew chiefs as well.’’

Or as Johnson, last year’s winner, says: “This year’s game is go fast.’’

Carl Edwards wast the fastest in qualifying and will lead the field to the green tonight. This will be a test for Roush Fenway Racing. Edwards has two top-five finishes at 1.5-mile tracks this season, while teammate Greg Biffle has one and Ricky Stenhouse none.

“It seems like hitting that setup has been harder for us to get it right,’’ Biffle said. “We’re just not there. We’re working hard.’’

A night like tonight can help for next week and throughout the season.

The evening will begin with the Sprint Showdown where the top two finishers advance to the All-Star race. The fan vote winner also advances. Should Danica Patrick not be in the top two in the Showdown, she is the favorite to win the fan vote.

“I would rather just focus on racing my way in and if I needed the fan vote then I will cross my fingers,’’ she said.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup

Photos

  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
Click to View More

Advertisement

You may unsubscribe at any time.
Motor Racing Network
555 MRN Drive
Concord, NC 28027
www.mrn.com/Footer/Contact-Us.aspx
(704)262-6700
feedback@mrn.com
  • © 2016 MRN. All Rights Reserved

    FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousLinkedInGoogle BookmarksYahoo BookmarksLive (MSN)

    ISC Track Sites