All or nothing.
NASCAR’S All-Star Race is unlike anything you will watch all year.
Points are pointless in this race. The winner gets an Austin Powers’ special: $1,000,000. Second place gets a ham sandwich and some extra TV time.
The race airs on Speed. As much coverage as the network offers, this is the only Sprint Cup race on their channel all year.
The rules are batty, change all the time and are difficult for me to succinctly type. Thank goodness for this link from the official website of NASCAR.
The 2010 format is as follows:
• Segment 1: 50 laps with a mandatory green-flag pit stop on Lap 25 at which time teams must pit and take on four tires . Following the end of Segment 1, the caution flag will be displayed for an optional pit stop.
• Segment 2: 20 laps with the caution flag displayed at the end of Segment 2 for an optional pit stop.
• Segment 3: 20 laps with a 10-minute break at the end of Segment 3. Teams may make normal adjustments to their cars during this break. The finishing order after the third segment determines the field’s lineup for the pace lap prior to the start of the fourth segment.
• Segment 4: Once the field takes a lap behind the pace car, all cars must enter pit road for a four-tire stop. The order in which the cars exit pit road is how they will line up for the 10-lap shootout with only green-flag laps counting.
Drivers who won a race in 2010 or 2011 are eligible to run Saturday night. So too is anyone who won the All-Star race or a series title in the last ten years.
Those other drivers who suck, (kidding), can race if they finish first or second on the 40-lap Sprint Showdown beginning at 7:30 Saturday night. There’s also a fan vote.
As for the track itself, drivers like it because it’s close to home. Most can actually sleep in their own bed the night before the race and be home in time for Saturday Night Live. The track doesn’t offer any gimmicks. The racing and structure are pretty no-nonsense. That said, there isn’t a lot of straightaway space. Drivers will spend most of their evening turning. Tight cars will lose ground. Loose cars will cause a ruckus. Cars will get close together looking for the right lines.
Those ruckuses could be pretty intense. Drivers approach 190 mph on the track. With so many families in the stands, suites and infield, drivers and teams will have extra mojo, especially with (lift your pinky to your face) $1,000,000 on the line. Now some random facts from the track’s website you can use to impress your friends with Saturday night.
- The 1.5 mile track has 24 degrees of banking in the corner and five degrees of banking in the straighaways.
- The frontstretch is 1,952 feet. The backstretch is 1,360 feet.
- Joey Logano has the highest average finish at the track.
- Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have the second-fifth best average finishes at the All-Star race.
- Johnson and Jeff Gordon have each won this race twice and are the only multiple race winners.
- Kurt Busch won the race last year.
- Just because you run well at Charlotte doesn’t mean you run well this weekend. A dozen drivers have better average finishes than Kasey Kahne, who owns this place.
- Days of Thunder and Stroker Ace were filmed at this track
- The offical website of the sport has the word “sumbitch” included in copy a living breathing human must have typed, proofread and approved to appear on official documents.
- My old English teacher Mrs. Gounaris just had an aneurism.
- Next time you think resurfacing the track isn’t a big deal, consider this: More than 20 million pounds of asphalt was used to repave the racing surface in 2006.
- There are more than 100 flagpoles at the track. Who said racing wasn’t patriotic?
- President George Washington once ate at a house that was on the property. Who said racing in Charlotte wasn’t patriotic?
- Charlotte Motor Speedway has free parking for fans. If that’s not patriotic, move to someplace unpatriotic. Like Iceland.
- Consider this an apology to the people of Iceland.