Thursday, May 20, 2010

5 Questions Before ... All-Star Race





It’s some good old-fashioned night racing with no points on the line. Drivers will be racing only for the glory, and a little bit of cash. $1 million worth to be exact! It’s a weekend where fans are just as much a part of the action as the drivers are, and crew members get the attention they deserve. The drivers love it, the fans love it, and the excitement is unmatched at any other race. The rules seem to change every year, but the intensity never does.




Here are some questions before the race:



Who will race fans vote into the All-Star race? … Big names such as Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, and Jeff Burton are outside looking in for the All-Star race. With fans having the opportunity to vote one driver into the race, many drivers are coming up with special promotions to convince fans that they deserve a spot in the big race. Scott Speed claims that if race fans vote him into the All-Star race he’ll throw a pie into Kyle Busch’s face. Flavor has not yet been announced. Elliott Sadler says he will donate all of his winnings to Paralyzed Veterans of America. Several drivers are using Twitter as a promotional tool. Basically, the vote is up for grabs. There is no clear cut favorite to win the fan vote, so driver introductions will definitely be fun to watch when the fan vote winner is introduced.



Why are so many big names out of the All-Star race? … As mentioned above, several proven NASCAR winners and champions are outside looking in. Bowyer, Edwards, and Biffle each won a NASCAR Nationwide Series championship in 2008, 2007, and 2002, respectively, with Biffle also winning a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship in 2000. Burton has 21 wins in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. They are all proven drivers yet have gone winless since last year’s All-Star race, thus making them ineligible for the 2010 All-Star race. Unfortunately, there will be a big name left out of the race. It’s intriguing to wonder why drivers such as these can somehow go winless for as long as they have. If anything, it shows how competitive NASCAR is. But this just gives fans of these drivers more incentive to vote them in!



Who will win the Pennzoil Ultra Victory Challenge? … This is the third year that NASCAR will have a “burnout challenge” preceding the All-Star race. Defending champion Kevin Harvick will compete in the Challenge along with Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, and David Reutimann. Greg Biffle won the inaugural event. It’s NASCAR’s version of the Home Run Derby or the Slam Dunk Contest and race fans love it. Of course even if these drivers don’t win the burnout competition, they’ll still have a shot at it once again if they win the All-Star race later that evening.



Who will get the biggest response during driver introductions? … Driver introductions aren’t usually televised and are something only the people at the track can enjoy. During All-Star race, driver introductions become almost as much of a spectacle as the race itself. Listening to the fans cheer or boo a specific driver is fun, and many viewers hoot and holler right along with them in their living rooms. While it’s safe to say that the most popular drivers are going to get the most cheers, they may not get the biggest reaction from the fans. Drivers such as Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, and Tony Stewart seem to bring out the best and the worst in fans, along with many others. Plus, the upbeat music and pyrotechnics during the introductions keeps everyone excited and pumped up for the race that will come right after.



How much do you notice the pit crews this weekend? … How can you NOT notice them? From the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge, to the pit stop during qualifying, crews are more important now and noticed more in this event than in any other NASCAR race during the season. And they should. The driver wouldn’t be a driver without his team behind them and the people at the shop who assemble the cars. It’s a lot of fun to see the crews’ faces and learn their names throughout the week. Faceless crew members are moved in front of the spotlight and race fans are able to more appreciate the crew members that get their driver in and out of pit road week in and week out.



Bonus questions: Who doesn’t like kittens, bunnies, and little baby seals? See the car this weekend! … Can the Busch brothers stay off of each other during the race? … What crazy stunts will be pulled in the pre-race show this year?

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