Pete Pistone distributes this week’s checkered and black flags following All-Star weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
He became the fourth driver to transfer into the main event and did it by winning a stage in the Open, or the “B Main” as sprint car driver Larson referred to the preliminary event Saturday night. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver made the most of the opportunity with a $1 million payday.
One of the loudest cheers of the night came when Wallace took the checkered flag in an Open stage. After celebrating that included am emotional hug with best friend Ryan Blaney, Wallace backed it up with a solid All-Star Race effort and a fifth-place finish.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver wanted to race his way into the main event with an Open stage win as well. That didn’t work out but he proved his building popularity in the sport by earning the Fan Vote and then coming home with an eighth-place All-Star Race finish.
The NASCAR fan base didn’t universally accept his win in Friday night’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series race. But Busch pulled off an incredible feat with the victory going a perfect five for five in his 2019 series starts. There’s no doubt a sigh of relief from some competitors knowing Busch is done for the year.
Two years in a row the All-Star Race produced an entertaining night of racing. While it’s understandable they all can’t be gems over the 35-year history of the event, there weren’t many memorable moments in recent years. But Saturday night on the heels of last year’s exciting race has for now reversed the trend.
His run of bad luck in the regular season spilled over into the non-points paying All-Star Race. Hamlin suffered through a variety of problems including cut tires and spins before mercifully ending the night with an 18th-place finish.
The only thing that kept Hamlin from finishing last in Saturday night’s field was his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Jones. He slammed the wall at least twice and suffered a great deal of damage but actually raced his way back into contention. Until his last encounter with the retaining wall that sent Jones to a 19th-place finish.
Another driver that experienced a tough night. Busch also stayed in contention despite receiving damage at least for a while but while CGR teammate Larson was winning, Busch could muster nothing better than a 17th-place finish.
NASCAR and many around the sport are heralding it as an expression of “passion” after Bowyer’s Rock Em Sock Em Robot impression on pit road after the race. But leaving your helmet on while throwing haymakers at Ryan Newman, who was still buckled in his racecar without being able to defend himself is weak. I have no problem if drivers want to confront one another about a disagreement after a race but how about face-to-face?
The young driver is learning on the job, which is not an easy task by any means. But for the second straight week, Decker exited the Gander Outdoors Truck Series race with an accident this time coming on lap 32 of Friday night’s race.
The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Motor Racing Network.