The beautiful thing about NASCAR’s All-Star race is that there are real winners and losers. The ugly thing about NASCAR’s All-Star race is that there are real winners and losers. Lost in the spectacle of segments, rock star intros and some actual racing, here’s a breakdown of what happened on and off the track Saturday night.
Win: Kurt Busch.
Yes, Busch finished 11th out of 22 drivers. But Busch was able to qualify for the Indi 500 (in a good position mind you) get back to Charlotte, run the race and coordinate the logistics without apparently losing his mind.
Busch running the Indi 500 and Coke 600 on the same day is a huge story on racing’s biggest weekend. The fact Busch can hop into an open-wheel ride, qualify in the top 15 of the field and have technology to actually compete is stunning. Busch also ran well enough Saturday night to be a contender for Sunday’s Coke 600.
Will Busch win both races? That would be a miracle. Will Busch win one race? That would be amazing. For Busch to run both is the type of accomplishment people talk about during hall of fame introductions.
Lose: Danica Patrick
Patrick didn’t race Saturday. How could she lose? In spite of Patrick merchandise sales and mainstream notoriety, Josh Wise beat her out in the fan vote to make Saturday’s race. For a star like Patrick to not be in the All-Star race might be just as stunning as the person who won the race. Speaking of said winner.
Draw: Jamie McMurray
How awesome was McMurray’s reaction? Plus, consider the company McMurray finds himself in.
7 men have won Daytona500, Brickyard400 & All-Star in career: Big E, Gordon, JJ, Elliott, Harvick, Newman, Big Game James McMurray.
— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) May 18, 2014
Everyone on this list will have Hall of Fame credentials, and now McMurray can call himself the Robert Horry of racing.
So why is this a draw? McMurray became the first driver to come out of left field to win a race. Low and behold, this is the one race that doesn’t allow a driver to qualify for the Chase. The $1 million consolation prize is pretty nice, but McMurray deserves a break after having won so many other big races and not getting a chance to Chase.
It’s great to have a exhibition with such real consequences. Let’s see how this translates into racing’s biggest weekend.