NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR's All-Star race is different
NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR's All-Star race is different

Published May. 20, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

When you talk about other sports and their all-star games or events, it's referred to as an all-star break. It's almost a break in the season or just that word or connotation of the break.

Well, there's nothing breaking with the Sprint All-Star Race in NASCAR. If anything it's more amped up and more hyped up than even a normal race just because these guys don't have to worry about points. They're built to race hard, whether you're going for a trophy or a million-dollar check. All they know is race to win.

During the course of the season, drivers can get caught up in the big picture, making the Chase For the Sprint Cup. They have to do that, to some degree. This week they don't have to worry. The point is, bring the car back in pieces if you can't win because second doesn't matter. You feel that mentality with every single driver and you feel it in the air, there's such an electricity.

The last couple of years, what is interesting, we've seen brothers go at it with Kyle and Kurt Busch; we've seen teammates with Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin. I wouldn't be surprised if we see somebody mad at their Mom by the end of the night.


There's such aggression and extreme intensity surrounding this race. If someone does you wrong, well there's no way you're going to let them win a million dollars. We not only expect to see that, we would be surprised if we didn't see it and see it from multiple drivers.

It's such an interesting format. I know that NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway have played with it over the years. They really didn't make any changes to this year's format in terms of the different segments and when you have to make a pit stop.

Obviously, the pit crew is a huge component, not just with the stops we'll see in the race, but they have their own all-star race with the pit crew challenge. Now Denny Hamlin’s winning crew gets the first pit stall selection. So it really makes a difference and could mean the difference in the race.

Jeff Hammond and I in the Hollywood Hotel during the races and we love it, because there's always something to talk about. In between every segment you're analyzing and breaking down the race.

First comes the Sprint Showdown, the race for those not already locked into the all-star field. After that race, you're running around and you're getting two guys who raced their way in and the guys who just missed the cut. Plus you have the element of the Sprint Fan Vote. You have another driver who is going to make the race. You have another driver that's going to make the race.

Most likely that will be Dale Earnhardt Jr. This is the first time in 10 years he's had to worry about that because he was eligible based on his win in the all-star event 10 years ago. And that is now exempt.

Most likely, we'll see Dale Earnhardr Jr. racing. There's so many big names in that Showdown, so I think it's going to be really intense.

I think Jeff Burton is going to be racing like his life depends on it because he was very adamant that you earn that ticket. If I didn't earn my way into that race with a win, which he hasn't, then I need to earn my way in by racing as hard as I can.

Where else can you see such big names left off the ticket, sort of left off the ballot. And that's what it is. They have two chances to get themselves in, to take first or second in that Showdown.

I think I'm excited to see who will step up and become the new rivalry. I think it will be interesting to see, if Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch are racing anywhere near each other, what happens there. And I think it will be interesting to see if we have another Cinderella story, another Trevor Bayne or a Regan Smith, one of these guys that have stepped up to the plate and winning major events.

We are racing another premier event and I think it would be great to see another young guy or another surprise shock the world.


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