Who… gets my shoutout of the race?
This one was decidedly hard. Three Joe Gibbs Racing cars drove less than clean and even in a non-points race that doesn’t earn them anything from me. The class of the field was the recipient and finished 13th. A Michael Waltrip Racing car almost won the event after racing in the Shootout. But in the end, I’m going with the driver hand picked for this race by an ailing friend.
Casey Mears barely made a whisper on the track, finishing 16th with a blown engine, but he was Brian Vickers’s personal choice to take over the No. 83 for the foreseeable future while Vickers recovers from blood clots. Vickers was at the track, coaching his good friend Mears, although it had to be hard to watch someone else drive his car. Sometimes what you do for your friends is worth more than the results chart shows.
What… was that?
Remind me again why we need the first 90 laps of the All-Star Race? The 50-lap segment followed by two 20-lappers was an exercise in parade laps, while the final 10 was a barnburner. Here’s an idea-why not eliminate the last three cars in each segment? At least they’d have to race for something. Give a bonus to the driver who passes the most cars in each segment, so something. Otherwise, why race those segments at all? Bracket the field and run 10-lap heat races until you have a winner.
Where… did the polesitter wind up?
Same place he started, P1. But Kurt Busch’s night wasn’t without plenty of excitement in between. He didn’t even look to be a factor in the final segment, at least until Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch got greedy and took each other out. Kurt Busch, having already bumped his way past Jimmie Johnson, took advantage, passing them both and never relinquishing the lead after that.
When… will I be loved?
There are a lot of drivers eligible for the “Nobody Loves Me, Everybody Hates Me, I’m Going In the Garden and Eat Worms” Award, but only one entire organization, so JGR’s trio of drivers take it home. The first 90 laps were relatively lean, but the last 10 were brutal. First, Joey Logano got together with Brad Keselowski and caused a multi-car incident.
Then, racing for the lead, Hamlin and Kyle Busch ended each other’s chances for the win, with Busch’s car having severe issues afterward leading to his early demise. Then Hamlin dumped Johnson with less than five laps remaining. Then none of them could catch Kurt Busch at the end, and Hamlin and Kyle Busch were at least party responsible for keeping Coach Gibbs out of victory lane.
Why… did Joey Logano take top honors in the burnout contest?
To be perfectly honest, I don’t know. And judging by the confusion at the track and online, neither does anyone else.
How… many restarts are possible in a 10-lap race?
We did the math so you don’t have to, and the answer for the 10-lap final segment, in which only green-flag laps count and with three allowable attempts at a green-white-checkered finish, the correct answer is 13. If one lap is completed on each restart, it’s possible that there could have been more restarts than advertised laps. It didn’t happen, but it could have.
About the author
Amy is an 18-year veteran NASCAR writer and a five-time National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) writing award winner, including first place awards for both columns and race coverage. As well as serving as Photo Editor, Amy writes The Big 6 (Mondays) after every NASCAR Cup Series race. She can also be found filling in from time to time on The Frontstretch 5 (Wednesdays) and her monthly commentary Holding A Pretty Wheel (Thursdays). A New Hampshire native living in North Carolina, Amy’s work credits have extended everywhere from driver Kenny Wallace’s website to Athlon Sports. She can also be heard weekly as a panelist on the Hard Left Turn podcast that can be found on AccessWDUN.com's Around the Track page.