The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: All-Star Race Recap by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday May 21, 2012

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Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: All-Star Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin · Monday May 21, 2012


The Key Moment – On the final restart, Matt Kenseth started beside Jimmie Johnson but buzzed his tires trying to get up to speed. That allowed Johnson an easy getaway and once the No. 48 car was back in clean air, it was time to put out the fire and call in the dogs.

In a Nutshell – Oops. Back to the drawing board at Gimmickry Inc.

Dramatic Moment – While the finish of the third segment was closer, the racing during the second segment appeared to be the most intense of the evening.

The racing between Jamie McMurray and A.J. Allmendinger for the final transfer spot in the preliminary race was another highlight of the evening.

What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week

I can understand what the rules makers were trying to do allowing the winners of the first four segments to enter the pits first prior to the final ten-lap sprint. I agree there should be some sort of bonus for winning a segment, though I’m not sure we need a five-segment race. But once Johnson won the first 20-lapper, he adopted a clever if cowardly strategy of dropping to the rear of the field (about 13 seconds behind the pack) while Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski, victors in segments #2 and #3 followed suit. It was rather embarrassing, by the end to see what could have been the three fastest cars on the track just exiting turn four as the leaders took the green flag. Here’s my two solutions. Firstly, they could consider allowing the four drivers with the best average finish in the first four segments to enter the pits prior to the rest of the field. Either that, or let’s go the whole way and restart the final ten segment with just four drivers on the track, the winners of each of the previous segments.

Has this event outlived its usefulness? With only two weekends off all season in the Cup series, might it not be better spent as a rare week off for the drivers and team members to enjoy a little quality time at home? I believe if they still need to have an All-Star Race, it ought to be run on the Friday night prior to the World 600. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I heard about the soda pop company. It’s always going to be the World 600 to me.)

For the record the first All-Star race (then the Winston) lasted forty minutes and thirty-two seconds. I think driver introductions took that long Saturday night. The TV folks are always trying new stuff. Sometimes they work, more often they don’t. This latest experiment in introducing the field prior to the race didn’t work. There’s a reason they don’t televise driver intros prior to points races: they’re boring. Some of those fan-produced intros for their favorite drivers were just downright awful. If those were the best of the submissions, I’m glad I didn’t have the task of sorting the wheat from the chaff.

Prior to the race, Brian France gave the media a brief “state of the sport” interview. He thinks everything is just ducky and the racing is very exciting to date this year. Yet he claims that he and NASCAR are listening to the fans. Could somebody buy that boy a pair of hearing aids?

All right, yeah it was pretty cool to see Earnhardt forced down into the grass and being able to return to the track without losing a spot… shades of 1987.

Hmmm. The new Chevrolet entry for 2013 Cup races will be known simply as the SS. The production equivalent won’t be available in the showrooms until late 2013 as a limited production 2014 model vehicle. Chevy acknowledges the SS isn’t intended to be a huge-selling car. (Probably after watching the success of the last generation GTOs and G8s that helped consign Pontiac to the great boneyard in the sky.) Like that last gen GTO, the SS will be based on a Holden model, a GM subsidiary out of Australia. Wait a sec. Isn’t NASCAR Cup racing limited to American-produced cars? Toyota sort of fudged their way in with a car that was designed in Japan but built in America. How in heck did this happen?

For the record, the top ranks of NASCAR racing haven’t always been limited to American-built cars. Prior to Toyota’s arrival only one top tier NASCAR race had been won by a foreign make. Al Keller won a Grand National (now Cup) race in June of 1954 held in Linden, NJ, driving a Jaguar. (New Jersey is still part of the United States, right?). Other foreign makes competed in the early days of Grand National racing as well including a lowly VW Beetle that ran at Langhorne, PA, in the ’50s.

This week, the House Appropriations committee added an amendment to next year’s military spending bill that would ban the Armed Services from sponsoring race cars (or any other sporting event.) That could be bad news for Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s teams. On the other hand the last time such a measure was proposed it was defeated by a vote of 281 to 148. Truthfully, if the sponsors of the measure really want to stop wasteful government spending, there’s a lot of other areas involving much more money they should start with.

Yep, another $50,000 slap on the wrist for Kurt Busch was issued this week. In his comments on the incident, Busch seemed to indicate he felt he was actually fined for slamming the door on the NASCAR hauler on his way out. Apparently, he really is that clueless. (Also, Busch and the No. 51 team are listed as having earned about $80,000 in the All-Star Race. If Busch has the traditional 50/50 split with car owner James Finch he’s now only ten grand in the hole after a short evening’s work.)

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

Last year’s All-Star Race winner Carl Edwards had an engine expire on lap 26 of this year’s event. Ever the gamer, he spent the rest of the night helping the broadcast team call the race.

Edward’s teammate Greg Biffle also suffered a terminal engine meltdown that ignited the No. 16 car with pyrotechnics worthy of a Hollywood thriller.

Jeff Gordon’s car appeared competitive in the first few segments but in the end, he sank back to a 13th-place finish. Lucky number 13. It’s sort of a synopsis of his season to date.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

A.J. Allmendinger won the pole for the preliminary race but had a left front tire go flat on the pace laps prior to the start. Somehow, he still rallied back to finish second to make the main event.

Kasey Kahne wadded up yet another car in qualifying for the race and was lucky to escape that wreck with no injuries. In his backup car, he was strong all evening before sliding back to a ninth-place finish.

Kurt Busch hit the wall hard enough it appeared his evening was over but he soldiered on to an eighth-place result. In even better news, he managed to avoid running into any cars on pit road while taking off his helmet after the race.

Kenseth felt he had a front tire going flat during the caution after Biffle’s fiery exit from the race, but the tire was in fact fine. Kenseth drove on to a third-place finish. (But someone is going to have to explain the name of his latest sponsor, the Fifth Third Bank, to me. What the blazes?)

A week after his team’s 200th victory, Rick Hendrick enjoyed the seventh All-Star victory his teams have managed to amass. Rather unwisely, Hendrick then decided he’d like to climb onto the No. 48 car for a post-victory ride. Hendrick is no spring chicken and he’s become… well, let’s put this politely, “portly.” It’s a wonder he didn’t end up a long red skid mark along the frontstretch, and my guess is he goes with boxers rather than briefs for the next few days.

Bobby Labonte at least made it into the big show when Earnhardt won the preliminary and thus didn’t need the fans to vote him into the transfer spot.

Worth Noting

  • Johnson’s victory Saturday night was HMS’ seventh in the All-Star races which have run under numerous different names. (I still call it the Winston. Sue me.)
  • Johnson’s All-Star win was the third of his career. He joins teammate Jeff Gordon and the late Dale Earnhardt as the only three-time winners of the event.
  • The only driver to finish within the top 5 in the 2011 and 2012 All-Star races was Kyle Busch. He finished second last year and fourth this time out. Kenseth finished third this year and sixth last year.
  • Ryan Briscoe won the pole for this year’s Indy 500 aboard a Roger Penske-prepared car. James Hinchcliffe will start second. Indy car fans refer to Hinchcliffe as “Manica” because he’s the guy that took over the seat vacated by Danica Patrick when she decided to go NASCAR racing full-time at the end of last season. Some of you may recall Ms. Patrick struggled mightily just to get into last year’s Indy 500. Hmmm.

What’s the Points? – This race is pointless…in more ways than one.

Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — We’ll give this one two and a half cans. The first four segments weren’t bad, but the finish was a decided anti-climax.

Next Up – The circuit returns to Charlotte for the longest race of the season, the World 600 next Sunday night. (Oh, and I hear they’re having some sort of race in Indianapolis that same Sunday afternoon and a Grand Prix in some tiny principality in Europe that morning, too.)

Contact Matt McLaughlin

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


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05/21/2012 02:50 AM

nascar has finally done it. They have caught and maybe even passed the NFL. The all-star race was EVERY bit as BORING as the NFL all-star game.

Jr going through grass in NO WAY remined me of Dale Sr.

There is no way I would ever call what I watched Sat. The Winston. RJR and T. Wayne made sure this race was exciting and that the fans were happy.

05/21/2012 07:00 AM

Nice article Matt, your analysis is pretty much spot on. The only exception is the little dig at Danica at the end. Come on, the whole Andretti team struggled at Indy last year, and two of her teammates were bumped, including Ryan Hunter-Reay, who will start 3rd alongside Hinchcliffe this year. Remember how he (RHR) had to buy his way into the field last year? If you are going to mention it, at least include the full analysis, hmmm indeed.

Brian France Sucks
05/21/2012 07:30 AM

The current tweaking to the All Star race sounds like it was drawn up on a cocktail napkin…. after Brian had about ten cocktails. Can it get any worse. The “brain-trust” at NA$CAR really has no clue how to effectively promote and police this series. None.

As for Danica, yep, she’s a media creation, much hyped by the NA$CAR “brain-trust”. Problem is she’s just not good at her secondary role of driver. Remember kids, one race win in the last 8 years, and that was a rain-shortened exhibition race. The primary role of bikini model/marketing shill is a successful one though.

Oh yeah, 5/3 is called that because the 5th National Bank of Ohio and the 3rd National Bank of Pennsylvania (maybe its the other way around) merged many moons ago, thus the quirky name.

05/21/2012 08:17 AM

I have not watched the All-Star Race since it went over to Speed. My Comcast bill is already over $150/month.

Fine with me if they just called the whole thing off.

I think Kurt Busch has been the only interesting story in the whole year thus far, if you don’t count JPM whacking the jet fuel dryer at Daytona.

05/21/2012 08:21 AM

i thought tv said that the winner of each segment 1-4 won $50K.

05/21/2012 08:23 AM

I have not watched the All-Star Race since it went over to Speed. My Comcast bill is already over $150/month.

Fine with me if they just called the whole thing off.

I think Kurt Busch has been the only interesting story in the whole year thus far, if you don’t count JPM whacking the jet fuel dryer at Daytona.

I think that the hanging back of the #48 is indicative of the main problem in the sport today. The drivers are simply not aggressive enough, and when they are aggressive, they are just stupid.

Somehow I can never envision Ricky Rudd or #3 hanging way back just because he won the first segment.

05/21/2012 09:00 AM

Maybe NASCAR should have set the field for the final segment based on those “driver rating” points. Isn’t that an indicator of how a driver runs, on average, throughout the race? It seems like that might give drivers an incentive to race hard all night long. Plus, that would actually make those driver ratings a little bit useful.

I don’t have cable anymore…but it doesn’t sound like I missed much (for about the 6th or 7th race in a row). I always enjoyed the Showdown better than the All-Star race. The racing is good, since only 2 spots matter, and I like to pull for the underdog anyway.

Stephen Hood
05/21/2012 09:04 AM

I actually thought the All Star Race was good. It actually made watching a race @ Charlotte palatable. So what if Johnson blew away the field on the last restart. I thought the racing was compelling, instead of the typical Charolotte snooze fest.

05/21/2012 09:05 AM

This is absolutely the worst all-star race I’ve ever watched. And I’ve watched a lot of them. Boring. Boring, Boring. I gave this race ZERO beers. And the drivers’ who won the first three “heat” races hanging so far back that the field almost caught up with them on them at the end of the third “heat”. What a joke. Frankly, I’ve had it with the all-star race.

05/21/2012 09:19 AM

As usual the blame gets put on the drivers for playing by the rules. NASCAR set those dumb rules and those segment winners that laid back were just playing by those rules. Why race in the rest of the segments if you’ve won one? It’s the chance of a wrecked race car going for 70K or playing by the rules and going for the million. No problem with the answer to that one.

This was just one more instance where NASCAR showed it’s disconnect with it’s intended purpose, RACING. Why not just go to a 50-75 lap wide open event? Let the actual race be the hype not hour upon hour of TV hype for a lack luster event.

When the CEO states openly that he isn’t concerned with the complaints of the fans then that about says it all. You’ve done a good job of running NASCAR into the ground Brian, why stop now? By the way, you might want to look around you at the next race you lower yourself to attending and see what is missing. Yup, the fans.

05/21/2012 09:28 AM

I thought I would be much older when Kurt Busch became a “decrepit old has been” (his words about Jimmy Spencer back in the late nineties)….Also, did DW introduce a new phrase “catch ‘em up”???. Is that the opposite of “chase ‘em down”

05/21/2012 09:39 AM

Glad I don’t watch,just read your report on Mondays.As for our tax dollars going to sponsor nASCAR.I had rather the money be sent to a camel herder in Bumf%&* Egypt than to give it to the the fat cat teams.I do admit that the fly overs were the most exciting part of the events I used to watch.

05/21/2012 09:49 AM

The “race” was pathetic. Whoever changed the rules to make it more exciting for the fans failed miserably. (I wonder who that was?)

If they’re going to run four segments, give points for each finish like one for first, two for second, etc. Invert the second segment. Have a two minute mandatory pit stop before the last 10 laps to do anything allowed during a normal stop. Add up the points from the four segments and lowest point total starts on the pole. If there’s a tie, the fastest lap during the race gets priority. Single file restart in order of points and once the green flag waves the race is on. No stupid rule about passing before the starting line. Caution laps never count. Please make them all “race” during the race.

It looked like Knaus took another cheater car to Charlotte.

Or they could run the race on the dirt short track and invite Red Farmer to clean their clocks.

05/21/2012 10:12 AM

BTW, Na$crap Caught on Tape…AGAIN; it was stated during the All-Star broadcast that for the manditory pit stop before the final 10 lap segent, John Darby said all cars had to come to a Complete Stop and the Na$crap pit Inspector should be able to read the Goodyear Eagle on the tires, before the driver takes off, otherwise there is a penalty. Well….when Speed showed a replay of Dale Jr.‘s last pit stop, his car CLEARLY NEVER STOPPED rolling! WTF! Silence from TV booth, Silence from Na$crap and NO Penalty. Yet another CLEAR example on tape of Na$crap using the “Fix” for Dale Jr., just like the tapes of Jr. passing Kenseth below the Yellow line at Talledaga in 2004, and passing the pace car THREE (3)TIMES under caution for his last career win 4 tears ago at Michigan, and NO PENALTIES! The PROOF is on the tape…. yet again!

05/21/2012 10:24 AM

set the field by the points, inverted of course and let them have at it for 75 laps

Carl D.
05/21/2012 10:25 AM

Without a doubt the worst All-Star race in recent memory, and the most god-awful rules for the race ever devised.

I usually enjoy the All-Star race because it’s nice to see the drivers go all-out with no points on the line. With the exception Allmendinger and Kahne, and maybe Truex, that didn’t happen this year. Just boring, boring, boring racing.

Here’s an idea to reward the drivers that win the preliminary segments… CASH. If that’s not enough, they can stay home. There’s no doubt Johnson had the car to beat from the get-go, but giving him a free pass to start the last segment without having to race for it for the entire event just plain stunk up the show.

One final thought… there’s not a bigger Bobby Labonte fan than me and I have the merchandise, photos, and memorabilia to prove it, but the fans really ought to consider voting in a driver with a car that actually has a chance of being competitive. Jamie McMurray would have been a much better choice.

05/21/2012 10:59 AM

Watched the last 2 segments on TV since before that I was out enjoying a very nice evening with friends. I had a ticket to go to this race but decided not to waste my time or money traveling to NC. I won’t be renewing our tickets for next year since for the past couple of years it’s been a bore even at the track.

I agree with the poster who said just make the entire race a 75 lap race, skip the pre-race intros that waste more time than anyone needs. Yeah it’s nice for the teams to be acknowledged but it makes for a stupid long day for not enough “fun” during the race.

05/21/2012 11:00 AM

What do you know……..another Monday and another mis-comment from overr88ted. Get an effin’ life you poor excuse of a little human being. Agree with those above that feel something should be done to discourage the sandbagging that was being done. But, then, you already know NASCAR is not going to care as long as they have their precious dollars to waste.

Bill B
05/21/2012 11:10 AM


05/21/2012 11:14 AM

Matt, like your suggestion about average finish in the 4 segments (also Kevin about the driver rating). As far as only the 4 segment winners in the last dash I would recommend eliminating the final 4 drivers each segment which would have left 6 to 8 drivers this year. The drivers would have to race to stay in the show all night to keep their sponsers happy, no just riding around.

05/21/2012 11:15 AM

I was there to wintness this overhyped event. There was some okay side by side racing but the idiot Brian France and company ruined the race with there stupid format, all they had to do was switch it up to making the winner get a top 15 in each segment to garuantee a top 4 final starting spot in the final heat and then no sandbagging.

Not sure why Bobby Labonte got the fan vote, he needs to retire yesterday. If he was still with JGR maybe a different story but he is a just a rider these days.

Greg Maness
05/21/2012 11:18 AM

The only “All Star Race” I have attended was the very first one in 1985 (and only because they only announced it in April of ’85 and anyone who already had tickets to the Busch race (they held it right afterwards … the day before the 600) got to see it for “no extra charge!”) The field only included 1984 winners and ’85 winners up through the race … it was 70 straight laps of racing (enough so no one could go the distance on a tank of gas) … no “time outs” … and the only “gimmick” was everyone had to make a pit stop between laps 30 and 40 (and the drivers obviously pre-arranged when they’d stop because they spread their stops out over the entire 10 laps and there were never more than two cars on a pit road). I think the format the one year it was at Atlanta was similar. If they wish to have “companion events” for those not in the field … fine … but, the “All Star Race” itself, I suggest going back to the original format. No gimmicks … just a race.

Greg Maness
05/21/2012 11:22 AM

I seem to recall there was no “gimmicky” qualifying or drawing for starting positions; the lineup was set based on number of (qualifying for the race) wins.

05/21/2012 11:31 AM

Guess I am in the minority here…but I really enjoyed the race minus the anti-climatic finish. I have only missed one All Star (I sill call it The Winston) since 1998 and while not the best one it was better than the last 5-6 years for sure. The racing in the segments was awesome…maybe TV sucked as normal but the action on the track was there. The only thing they could have done better is make the last stop a mandatory 4-tire one and run 20 laps at the end instead of 10. Rick, they did have a elimination format a few years ago and I think that has been the best format that they have had…only problem was that Rusty got eliminated early on and cried about on TV, he must have got to Burton.

I do like the points idea and averaging each segment for the final line-up. Anyway, this is a fun race to go to…what I saw Saturday Night was way more entertaining than 1/2 the races that have ran so far this year.

bill sprehe
05/21/2012 11:50 AM

The whole night was just sad. To still watch stock car racing at this point is a 3 to 4 hour waste of
your life!

05/21/2012 12:30 PM

that was a very sad excuse of a race. It clearly demonstrated how and why the prevalent sandbagging/riding around strategy (as opposed to hard racing) is norm for cup racing… because it’s rewarded.

My solution? well, since no one asked, I’ll offer it any way. First, ditch the aero track, run it at a shorter track like richmond. Second, ditch the gimmicks and let’s go back to short track roots. Since this is a non points race break the gimmicks by running some short qualifying races open to any and all, a consi and then a short main with a 24 car field. Just like any short track in the country. If they did that… i’d probably watch it and i might even be able to forgive the inevitable “boogity boogity boogity, let’s go all star racing boys” and other assorted jackassery from the booth.

Kevin in SoCal
05/21/2012 12:34 PM

Brian France Sucks said: “Remember kids, one race win in the last 8 years, and that was a rain-shortened exhibition race.”

Maybe you should remember, it was a short-field race in Japan on fuel-mileage she won, because the other drivers were in Long Beach for that race due to a scheduling conflict. It was not an exhibition race.
And Overra88ted is spot-on as usual, but Mr Hype wasnt the only one who did a “California Stop” in their pit box.

05/21/2012 01:02 PM

Another minority opinion here but I have to say I too enjoyed the race Saturday night WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THAT IDIOTIC BOOGITY CRAP! Seriously the racing was intense and the segment winners hanging back was good strategy with the current rules. Just one question though: do you think RH could enjoy that ride in that position? OOOUUUCCCHHH!

05/21/2012 01:10 PM

After getting off work Sat. night I was glad I missed the “race”. This stuff is so laughably predictable.

Just go ahead and give the 48 the crown and start selling the notion that his “comeback” from his early penalties is incredible.

Damn, I sure miss the Winston Cup years.

05/21/2012 01:18 PM

Lemme see … coming attractions … well, Monaco has Prince Albert who always shows up … Indy has the Pagoda, and the milk and the horse collar … and the World 600 is at night and turning it on will save me at least 2 sleeping pills.

05/21/2012 01:24 PM

Bill wrote: The whole night was just sad. To still watch stock car racing at this point is a 3 to 4 hour waste of
your life!

Bill, that simply ain’t true. Throw in the pre-race show and likely this weekend will be a five hour waste of your time.

05/21/2012 01:37 PM

what a smart a…. remark that brad k. said ,about he,48 an 17 all laid by, to help he could win a segment! he is getting to big for his britches. maybe jr needs to remind him, of a few things!he is letting his mouth run away from him! ungratfull brat!

bill sprehe
05/21/2012 02:31 PM

Matt: right on the 5 hrs.

The only way to have a super “All Star” race is to tell the drivers there is a severe rain storm coming and it does not show up on the radar!
old farmer
05/21/2012 02:51 PM

The “event” sucked.

What’s a race when the guys labeled to win in the early going screw around in the back like they’re driving a hybrid or don’t give a damn because they know they’re the chosen for the win?

Race or stay home.

This format screwed the public out of some potentially good racing and is absolutely the worst format I have ever seen.

If NASCAR keeps this format, I won’t even bother to turn on the tv next year.

05/21/2012 03:01 PM

“jackassery” That was laugh out loud funny babydufus.

05/21/2012 03:18 PM

The most exciting part of the race was watching fat Rick Hendrick and seeing if he was going to take a tumble for that stupid, ego driven stunt of his.

05/21/2012 03:21 PM

Also, its getting to the point where a person cant drink enough beer to make this ‘racing’ interesting.

Rick Denman
05/21/2012 04:57 PM

Maybe they should run the race in the opposite direction one year.
Now I’d watch that…

05/21/2012 05:09 PM

On a figure 8 track?
How about we hold the All-Star race on the dirt short track next door. That I’d pay to see.

Bill Doherty
05/21/2012 05:17 PM

Well now.. The real problem with NASCAR… or at least ONE of the REAL problems is the negativity espoused by some of the media.. Still call it the Winston, World 600, gimmickry and digs about Pontiac.. Look around!! Stands were more full than usual, Every one seemed to have a great time!! So after spending plenty of money for a trip to the ALl Star Race, they read your negativity and begin to wonder… Hmmm did I just get ripped off? Was this as good a time as I thought it was? The “experts” in the media are tearing the race apart and saying it was a schlock… well now perhaps NASCAR really IS in trouble and I was wrong.. well now… So just keep on with the negatives, poke a little fun of it in the name of gaining some points in the media race, and well presto.. no more NASCAR… Like yer Mama said.. If you cannot say anything nice, well sometimes it would be much better to say nothing!! Great race! Full(er) stands, great racing, could be some ongoing improvements.. LEAVE IT AT THAT!!!!

05/21/2012 05:51 PM

To the point on Gordon. I think he a bunch of other drivers not in the top-5 for the final segment just decided to pack it in at that point and not tear up their race car. Another flaw the format brought out. What is the point of a “mandatory pit stop” if you don’t have to take tires at all?

05/21/2012 07:13 PM

Well, Bill, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, and expressed it well, but for obvious reasons I disagree. I guess I should be flattered. You are simply overestimating whatever limited talent I have. I can not persuade en-masse race fans to beleive a good race was bad anymore than I could convince them a bad one was worth a fig. Race fans are a pretty discerning lot. Many readers of these columns have been following the sport even longer than me. They know what a good race is and what a bad one is. My writings more reflect fan sentiment than they do shape it.
After 17 years at this game my career is definitely closer to the end than the beginning, probably much more so than I am ready to admit. If I leave behind any legacy it won’t be that I was always right but hopefully that I was always honest about how I felt.
Oh, and for the record there’s a 1976 Pontiac Trans Am 50th Anniv. Firebird out in my garage. I’d never talk bad about Pontiac. I’ve had various Firebirds, GTOs and rear wheel drive first Gen Grand Ams over the years and have loved them all, particularly the silver 69 Judge Ram Air III four speed.

05/21/2012 08:46 PM

Well, I have an idea to get the All-Star Race back to what it used to be. go back to the format that worked so well from 1992-2001. That is to go back to three sgements, either 40-40-10, 40-30-20, or 40-40-20, and do a partial field invert between the first and second segments. I’d say 8-14 cars would be a good number.

Then I say get rid of the idiotic fan vote, though it did put a deserving driver, 2000 NASCAR champion Bobby Labonte in the field. (I thought series champions got a pass into the All-Star Race for the balance of their careers. I wonder when they changed that rule?)

The only changes I’d make to the eligibility requirements are these:

1. The winner of any of the crown jewel races (i.e., The Daytona 500, brickyard 400, Coca-Cola 600, Southern 500, and the spring race at Talladega) gets a free pass to the next three All-Star Races from the time of that victory, much like the winners of the PBA’s majors got a multi-year exemption into the Tournament of Champions.

2. Only the winner of the Sprint Showdown gets in the All-Star Race.

Also, if I’m not mistaken, the speedway, not NASCAR, decides what the format for the All-Star Race is going to be, so if you don’t like the format, blame the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and not NASCAR.

05/21/2012 11:12 PM

Matt, how are your speaking skills? I swear on all that is holy that even for just one race that they need to send Jaws on mandatory vacation and have you take his spot. I personally think that that would be one of the best called races EVER. And goodness knows, I would hazard a guess that a good majority of the fans would be cheering to hear the actual TRUTH instead of all the nonsense the TV crews and NASCAR spew.

05/22/2012 11:28 AM

Thanks Matt for echoing what I’ve said for several years. The Winst…. err, Nex… umm, Sprint All Star race has outlived its useful life. The original editions brought some welcomed attention to NASCAR. But at its new plateau vs. where it was in mid 80s, this farce of an event is no longer needed to command attention from fans, media and sponsors. Give ‘em the week off – or run a race that matters. As for Rick, I thought he may need to change his name to Rack – as in ribs. I thought he might flip the 48 on its side like a rack of dinosaur ribs did in The Flintstones.

05/22/2012 01:06 PM

This was just a preview for the 600 mile snorefest on Sunday.

05/22/2012 03:49 PM

I really hope people don’t get too excited about these new car designs next season. They may look like the street version, but it will still be a spec car underneath. They need to do more than just change the bodies on these cars to improve the racing.

Wonder how the Toyota haters will feel to know that their Chevy next year will be built in Australia.

05/23/2012 12:58 PM

I thought it was a spectacular race for the first 4 segments. The final ten…not so much. Closer racing than we’ve seen this side of a plate track and plenty of action.

Can’t say I blame the guys who hung at the back. Wouldn’t you be mighty careful with your equipment if YOU had a chance to win a million dollars? Its by a small miracle 12 cars didn’t get wadded up at one point during the 2nd segment.

As for the Chevy SS… the Holden is the only sportscar left in the Chevy stable that isn’t being run in another series in the US. ALMS and Grand-Am have the Corvette and Camaro (which is also run in the Pirrelli World Challenge)
The ‘Vette is the crown jewel of the GP program there. And it is not like it is a hugely common daily driver for Joe Citizen. Same for the Camaro. Chevy really had no other option.