The All-Star Race kind of feels like The Clash to me: unnecessary and lacking luster. What should NASCAR do with it? – Brodie L., Fargo, N.D.
I wish I knew, Brodie. I wish I knew.
I miss the electric feel of the event. When fans came down to Charlotte in droves and visited team shops, organizations had fan days, pit crew competitions were a thing, the $1 million felt like it was significant … those days feel so far removed.
Childhood memory: unlocked 🔓🔑
The pit crew competition was SO damn fun and I still miss it dearly. Wish it could return in some form. https://t.co/mEnxzd1TVL
— Davey Segal (@DaveyCenter) June 8, 2021
It feels like a different era (well, I guess it is) of the All-Star Race being just that: a race. No stages, no package changes, no inverts, no random draws, no mandatory stops. Just line ’em up, race and go home. Could you imagine?
Honestly, I don’t think I can. That’s just a product of NASCAR racing and society in 2021. Something needs to be different, needs to be headline-grabbing, needs to be short enough to keep people’s attention. Hence the 2021 rules for the ASR (which I’m not going to try and recite).
It also comes at a strange time. More than half the regular season is over, the summer stretch is in full force, the venue is, well, undesirable in terms of the on-track product and it seems that there’s just no hype for the event itself.
The ASR should be something that speaks for itself: a one-off race that gets drivers and fans alike excited. But in recent years, all of that is lacking. How to fix it is the (no pun intended) million-dollar question.
North Wilkesboro Speedway would be cool, but is unrealistic for at least the next few years. So is Rockingham Speedway. Bristol Motor Speedway happened last year, Martinsville Speedway would be cool, as would Darlington Raceway. … There are endless options.
If I had it my way, I’d have it cycle through multiple local tracks in the greater North Carolina area, allowing minimal travel for teams (and less of a financial burden) and the potential to race at local short tracks that NASCAR deems race-ready (from a safety and competition standpoint).
But it may be too good to be true. All I know is that something needs to be done to the All-Star Race, I just wish I knew what that something is.
How many wins is realistic for Kyle Larson this season? – Particia I., Elk Grove, Calif.
I mean, realistically speaking, he can win all 20 remaining races. It won’t happen, but that’s how good Kyle Larson is right now.
With four more road course races, conventional wisdom would be to pencil him in for at least one win there, given his speed at the Daytona International Speedway road course, Circuit of the Americas and Sonoma Raceway this season. At least one or two more intermediate victories, given his results at those tracks thus far, and probably one at a short track/superspeedway.
So probably at least four more wins. But that seems so low, doesn’t it? The No. 5 team was in their own stratosphere on Sunday (June 6) at Sonoma. And they realistically could have won the last six (!) races.
At Kansas Speedway, he led a race-high 132 laps before a late incident with Ryan Blaney relegated him to 19th. At Darlington, he finished second. At Dover International Speedway, he finished second after leading 327 laps. At COTA, he finished second after rain helped teammate Chase Elliott grab the win (if it didn’t rain, Larson was in line for the W). Charlotte Motor Speedway, he won, and Sonoma, he won.
That’s a month and a half of races that Larson has or easily could have won if circumstances played out just a tad differently. Hendrick Motorsports clearly has more horsepower than their competition, and their driver stable is packing a punch every single week.
However many wins Larson does earn this season, you can just add them to the list (an already extensive one at that). All “Yung Money” does is win, and the world is seeing it on display so far this season.