New Rule May Benefit Patrick
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on May 15, 2013 | 3:21 P.M. EST
For Patrick or any other driver to be eligible for the fan vote, their car needs only to be in “raceable condition” following the Showdown. (Photo: Getty Images)
Danica Patrick may help Danica Patrick win the fan vote to make the field for Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race.
Drivers not already in the field for the main event must race their way in during the preliminary Sprint Showdown as one of the first two finishers. However another name will be added to the All-Star Race lineup via the Sprint Fan Vote.
In 2012 it was mandated any driver eligible for the voting needed to finish on the lead lap of the Showdown. Despite a news release distributed earlier this year stating otherwise, that is not a stipulation. NASCAR now says that wasn’t the case last season nor is it with the 2013 edition of the race.
For Patrick or any other driver to be eligible for the fan vote, their car needs only to be in “raceable condition” following the Showdown.
"You live and learn,” said NASCAR president Mike Helton. “Every year we run an All-Star race that's unique and has got unique formats attached to it. A situation comes up that you learn from. In addition to just changing up the format routinely, which is kind of what we do at the All-Star anyway, you try to change it in a way to at least prevent that piece from happening again. It's a fun weekend.''
However not everyone agrees with the idea of a driver unable to stay on the lead lap in a preliminary race advancing to the main event.
“I don't think that's right,” said David Ragan. “I think you need to be competitive. It's a contradictory rule. So you can't be torn up and get in, but if you're slow and you're not on the lead lap, then why should you be in the All-Star race?
“In my opinion that is not a good rule for the intent of the All-Star race. The All-Star race is supposed to be about the best of the best. I love the fan vote. If you're a lap down, I don't know that you deserve to be in the All-Star race.''
Patrick is among the top five vote getters so far in the fan balloting along with Jeff Burton, Michael Waltrip, Bobby Labonte and Martin Truex Jr. Fans can cast their votes through Saturday.