The Sprint All Star Race At Charlotte


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Tonight’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway is all about the All Stars. No… wait a minute, that’s not quite true… It’s all about the money. It’s not about the points (because there are none), it’s not about who runs second or worse (because in the end it won’t matter) and it’s not about catching a break.

Oh, I know that doesn’t come as a shock to anyone familiar with the All Star race and everyone knows it can get pretty aggressive but, it does make for an interesting night of racing and can get a little rough at times. I guess that is what we as fans should expect when the only thing on the line is winning over a million bucks and how you do it is limited only by how – uh, how shall I put this? – “nice” you may be when it comes to moving someone out of the way that might keep you from it.

I guess the next question would be whether or not it’s a race that’s all about having fun or not? There are those that say that it is all about fun and then there are others that say is definitely all about the money! I don’t know which side of the fence I come down on because it does look like they have a lot of fun but racing for $1 million… Well, that does seem like there might be a bit more involved than just fun.

From this fan’s view (along with many others) the Sprint All-Star race is unique to itself and highly unpredictable as to how it might progress. Just because you’re an All-Star doesn’t mean you’re going to win the All-Star race and usually, the winner is a surprise even though any of them can win on this night. It is highly likely that tonight’s winner could be someone that hasn’t won this year, like Jimmy Johnson. Two things could possibly be in his favor for winning and the first would be how well he performs at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The second would be he’s going for his third in a row and that isn’t likely although possible.

Personally, I’m not sure that the winner will be that obvious until at least halfway through the competition tonight. It could be Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards or any number of the others. I’m not even sure that it will be Hendrick horsepower that leads the way even though they have been showing strength throughout this 2014 season. There are just too many variables and one of them is the aggressiveness of the drivers. Some would say that aggression, or aggressive driving, will rule the night and that could very possibly be true. It could also spell trouble for any of the possible winners if they don’t keep their heads on straight.

Both Clint Bowyer and AJ Allmendinger had a little extra practice last night as they finished one -two in the All-Star Showdown. Is it possible that Clint Boyer’s #15 team could begin this weekend to turn things around? In listening to Clint talk about his season so far, it’s been very disappointing for him and his team. It’s not that they haven’t had good cars but it is because they just haven’t been able to finish the way that they qualified or run so far this year. It is this fan’s opinion that tonight could be different for him but I’m not willing to say he’s going to win tonight.

AJ Allmendinger and his #47 team would like nothing less than to finish out front at the end of tonight’s race. It wouldn’t be just about the money for him although it would be somewhat about the money. What it could mean if they do win is that they have a possibility of winning the 600 next weekend and that would be very good for the #47 team. Judging from seasons past I’m sure the driver, crew and owners of the #47 team could use that boost in their confidence level.

You’ve probably noticed I haven’t talked about the Fords very much so far and there’s a reason for that. Although I could be quite surprised by tonight’s outcome and they might actually finish up front, I’m of the opinion they’re just not quite there yet. Does that mean there is no hope for the Fords at all? Not at all… What it means is most of the Fords just haven’t been as impressive as the Hendrick Chevys whether actual or associated teams, and Hendrick horsepower has ruled lately. Of course now that I’ve said that, this could be the night that any of the Fords or the Toyotas could outshine the Chevys whether it be Hendrick or Earnhardt-Childress horsepower. From this fan’s view, when it comes right down to it this could be another one of the most exciting races we’ve seen this year in Sprint cup much like last week was at Kansas.

Since the qualifying won’t take place until just before the race tonight it’s hard to tell what the starting order might be. I do think track position will play a big part in how tonight’s race may go but you have to remember that they’re only running in 20 lap segments until the last 10 laps. I expect this race to be flat out and aggressive, especially near the end. Whether it be a Ford, a Toyota or a Chevy that ends up in Victory Lane, it won’t matter much who finishes second because tonight is definitely, “All about the money… !!”

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 17, 2014 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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