$1 million is a lot of money, and a lot of drivers are willing to do whatever it takes to get that paycheck and end up in victory lane in the Sprint All-Star Race.
The 32nd running of the Sprint All-Star Race will take place on Saturday evening at Charlotte Motor Speedway, with the green flag for the main event flying just past 9:00 p.m. ET. However, there is some business to take care of before the big show. The Sprint Showdown will take place on Friday evening (weather permitting) around 7:00 p.m. ET. The event will consist of three segments (20, 20 and 10 laps, respectively). The winner of each segment will automatically transfer to the All-Star Race, giving three drivers bids.
There will also be two other spots to transfer to the race on Saturday night via the fan vote. Danica Patrick is pretty much a lock to advance via the fan vote (assuming she doesn’t win a segment). Another driver who is gaining traction to advance via the fan vote is Matt DiBenedetto. His campaign is gaining traction, as he promised the fans that his name above the door would be changed from DiBenedetto to “DiBurrito”.
Unfortunately, rain has been in the forecast all weekend and continues to linger around the speedway, wreaking havoc on the scheduled activity on track. The race format has drastically changed since 2015’s event. Here is a brief overview.
Segment 1: 50 laps. Mandatory green flag pit stop (two tires minimum). At the conclusion of the segment, all cars must pit.
Segment 2: 50 laps, Mandatory green flag pit stop before lap 85 (two tires minimum). At the conclusion of the segment, all cars must pit.
Segment 3: NASCAR will draw a random number (nine, 10 or 11). Whatever number they draw; those top cars will pit for four tires. Pit road is closed to additional cars. The cars that pitted will start in the back of the pack and attempt to drive their way through the field (everyone else will be on old tires and slower) in only 13 laps to find victory lane. Overtime procedures apply, and caution laps do not count.
Who’s participating: In no particular order: Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin (defending winner), Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne. Plus the three winners of the Showdown segments and the two fan vote winners.
Predictions: I’ll go with Kurt Busch to win the All-Star Race, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon to win segments in the showdown and Patrick and “DiBurrito” to win the fan votes.
Enjoy the races everybody!
Rain was persistent on Friday, forcing NASCAR to move the NC Education Lottery 200 and the Sprint Showdown to Saturday morning.
Practice for the showdown will take place at 9:00 a.m. ET. After that concludes, an All-Star practice session (with pit road practice) will take place. At 11:00 a.m. ET, the Sprint Showdown will go green. The Camping World Truck Series race will go green following the checkered flag of the showdown, around noon.
As regularly scheduled, the Sprint All-Star Race qualifying will take place at 7:00 p.m. ET, followed by the race for $1 million itself at 9 p.m.