This is more than what would normally be called an off-weekend race… There are no points, very little off time and very little concern of how you get up front, (just as long as you get there.) Very few will care if you lose or even run second. In fact, (as long as no one gets hurt), nobody will care that much if you take someone out going for the checkers… That’s because this is a weekend that’s all about the money!
Yep, this is one weekend where it is as close to no holds barred, pushin’ and shovin’, beatin’ and bangin’, bumper thumpin’ hard racing that counts for nothing but pride (oh yeah, and that million dollars.)
This is the weekend of the NASCAR All Stars race and it is more than a showcase of all star drivers simply showing up and takin’ it easy. It is all about racing hard and being raced hard against… (Uh, and did I mention it was about the money?)
The rainout of the qualifying definitely changes the way the game will be played tonight. Those that were going to qualify up near the front for the Showdown are now lined up according to owner points and that puts a whole new wrinkle in the way things might have turned out. The way I see it, it is going to give an advantage to those that may not have been able to qualify well and it will definitely make those that could have work that much harder to accomplish their goal of making it into the All Star Race. No matter how I try to paint it, it looks to make the already highly competitive “Showdown” even more interesting than it would have been. There will be more riding on every lap and the lineup may or not make a difference on how anyone finishes, but, I can almost guarantee one thing… it is going to make how they all try to get there well worth watching.
The rainout also made the lineup for the All Star Race go by a drawing. That means a whole shake-up of the possibilities of who starts where in it, too. Add to that the fact that we won’t even know the whole lineup until the Showdown is over because three spots remain unclaimed; there will be two from the Showdown and one person named by fan vote. (To tell the truth, I can’t wait until we find out who the fans voted in simply because I know who I would like to see get a chance at the million $$$$ other than the ones already in or that will win their way in.)
The All Star Race is one of my favorite races to love/hate. When the person I want to see win is up front and getting ready to take home the million, I love it. In the same way, when the person I want to see win is up front and gets taken out by someone by a little more aggressive than usual driving, (or maybe I should say, “dirty or rough driving”), I hate it and have been known to hold a grudge for quite a while afterwards. Funny thing about it though, when my favorite to win takes the other guy out to win by the same measure, I think that other guy deserved to be put out and end up thinking my favorite had every right to do what he did, (and probably wear a smile thinking about it for weeks, too.)
This is one of those races I don’t even want to make a prediction about who might win. With the format being what it is, I don’t know that anyone can tell who is going to win, although I do think there are some that have a better chance than the others. The real game-changers are the way they line up from the draw and the way they line up in the pit stalls.
Even with a great pit stall though, a strong car is going to be needed to make a move through this field if for no other reason than the competition is so tight in Cup these days it is hard to move up through the field and track position will be the most important factor before and after that final mandatory pit stop. (By the way, I think that is going to prove to be the biggest game changer of all in the race tonight.) After that final stop it is a trophy dash to see who can outlast the others with all the leanin’, rubbin’, beatin’, bangin’, pushin’ and shovin’ that will be going on. Man, I can’t wait… (and did I mention it was about the money?)
See ya next time… Rusty
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 22, 2010 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman and NascarFansView.com
(All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PCNProductions.com)