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NASCAR

NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race is Night Racing at its Best

Last week’s NASCAR race at Darlington Raceway had an exciting finish but lacked the number of wrecks and caution flags that previous races there have had.  Some say it is because the drivers are being too conservative, too careful in order to get and keep a maximum amount of championship points.  We won’t have that problem this week.  This week racing is not about points or Championships.  This week it they are racing for all the marbles.  This week they are only racing for money.  This week is the return of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The Charlotte motor speedway is a 1.5 mile D shaped oval.  It has 24 degrees of banking in the turns and 5 degrees of banking on the front and back stretches.  He high banking in the corners makes this track faster than many of the other 1.5 mile tracks.

The All-Star race format is very different than any other NASCAR race.  To get into this race Drivers must have won a NASCAR race the previous year, been a previous All-Star Race winner within the past 10 years or Sprint Cup Champion within the last 10 years that still drives.  If a Driver doesn’t qualify for the race that way they can get in by winning the Fan Vote or finishing first or second in the qualifying race.

The drivers eligible for and entered into this race by race wins are as follows:  Marcos Ambrose, Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman, David Ragan, Regan Smith and Tony Stewart.  Mark Martin is eligible as a past winner of this race in 2005.

Notables missing from this list include Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, David Reutimann, Joey Logano, A J Allmendinger, Jeff Burton, Juan Pablo Montoya, Aric Almirola, and Bobby Labonte.  It is expected that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will win the Fan Vote so will most likely make the race.  All these drivers will have to race into the race by coming in either first or second in The Sprint Showdown prior to the All-Star Race.

The race will be run in five segments. The first four segments will be 20 laps each. The fifth and final segment will be a 10-lap dash to the finish, where only green flag laps count. The winners of the first four segments will move to the front of the field and line up in positions 1-4 prior to the field coming to pit road for the final mandatory pit stop prior to Segment 5 (if there is a repeat segment winner, the second-place finisher will start in his place). The winner gets a $1 million payout.

The last few weeks the drivers expected to win the race have been analyzed driver rating.  The racing format does not lend itself to picking winners in this way.  It is especially challenging since they are moving the top cars to the front for the last segment.  This is a race where you just pick your driver cheer.  The top 12 driver ratings are below for your information.

Brian Berg Jr. is the Lead NASCAR writer for RantSports.com

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary.   On Facebook at NASCAR News and Commentary 

Top 12 Driver Rating at Charlotte
List consists of drivers with more than one NASCAR Sprint All-Star race start

Jimmie Johnson…………………… 108.9
Kyle Busch…………………………. 106.8
Matt Kenseth………………………… 94.0
Carl Edwards………………………… 89.6
Mark Martin…………………………… 86.1
Kurt Busch……………………………. 85.2
Jeff Gordon………………………….. 85.1
Tony Stewart…………………………. 83.9
Greg Biffle……………………………. 82.7
Ryan Newman……………………….. 81.9
Joey Logano………………………… 80.5
Brian Vickers………………………… 79.6

Note: Driver Rating compiled from 2005-2011 NASCAR Sprint All-Star races (seven total).