Evaluating the Chances for Advancing From The Sprint Showdown to All-Star Race

1 of 23

Jamie McMurray

Jamie
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

McMurray's having a great year and may be able to get back into victory lane during the Sprint Showdown if he has a good enough car.

2 of 23

Dave Blaney

Blaney
Jerome Miron-USA Today Sports

Blaney isn't going to contend for the win. He'll be just outside of the top-10 probably, but it's going to be more of a test session for he and his Tommy Baldwin Racing team.

3 of 23

Danica Patrick

Danica
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Yeah, um, Danica Patrick isn't going to victory lane this weekend. She's going to run decently considering she's been to Charlotte before and knows the track rather well, but she just doesn't know how to run upfront quite yet. However, if she doesn't wreck, expect her to be voted as the fan vote to get into the All-Star Race.

4 of 23

Casey Mears

Geico
Jerome Miron-USA Today Sports

Mears and his Germain Racing team have had a solid year. Besides a few setbacks, they've been a top-15 week on many intermediate tracks and he has a realistic shot at winning the Sprint Showdown, even though he'll probably run about fifth-eighth throughout the race.

5 of 23

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Roush
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Expect Stenhouse Jr. to contend for the win. He's been strong all year and would be a great way to impress his team and competitors.

6 of 23

Mike Bliss

Bliss
Jerome Mirone-USA Today Sports

Bliss has start and parked all year, but did run 140 laps at Texas. He may run the full Sprint Showdown since it's just 40 laps, but who knows with this team.

7 of 23

Paul Menard

Menards
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Menard is one of the hottest drivers on the circuit this year. He's in the top-10 in points and has been one of the most consistent drivers. Menard usually runs decent in these races, so he will likely run upfront and is one of the favorites for the win.

8 of 23

David Stremme

Stremme
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a decent year for this new team. Stremme's going to likely test out some new things this weekend that may work, but they may not. He's probably going to run outside of the top-10.

9 of 23

Jeff Burton

RCR
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Burton needs a win. Why not a non-points event just to gain a little confidence? With Richard Childress Racing having a bounce back year, expect Burton to run well during the Sprint Showdown.

10 of 23

Timmy Hill

FAS Lane Racing
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

He's in his second year with a struggling team that runs 35th each week. They need to test some things out and they're going to run poorly like always sadly enough.

11 of 23

Landon Cassill

Cassill
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

For an underfunded team, they've been running decently lately. Cassill is looking to impress sponsors and they're going to put their all into this race and the Coca-Cola 600.

12 of 23

J.J. Yeley

JJ
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

J.J. Yeley's been struggling like no tomorrow this year. The team isn't as successful with two teams as it was with just one. Expect them to run towards the back of the pack.

13 of 23

David Gilliland

Gilly
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In the last two years, Gilliland ran seventh and 15th in the Sprint Showdown. Expect Gilliland to run just inside of the top-10 since the team's third car won't be at the track, they'll put a little more effort into this car.

14 of 23

Juan Pablo Montoya

JPM
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

If this man doesn't get his act together, he's going to be looking for a ride soon. He had a great run at Richmond and did well at Darlington last weekend. Montoya can either do really well this weekend like he did last year, or really awful like he did in the years before last.

15 of 23

Aric Almirola

RPM
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Almirola is having a great year and is going to contend for the win. He's going to qualify in the top-5 and lead some laps for sure. With the way he's been running, it wouldn't be a surprise if he's going to run upfront in the Sprint Showdown.

16 of 23

Scott Riggs

Riggs
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This team has barely attempted any races and all they've done is start and park. It's a disgrace, but they'll probably park this weekend too. If they don't, Riggs is a wheel man and he'll surely give it his all.

17 of 23

Bobby Labonte

JTG
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

With the way this team has struggled, Bobby Labonte wants to run well. Last season, he finished 19th in this race. It's horrible to see what's happening to his career because the team isn't organized properly, but he's barely going to run in the top-15 this weekend.

18 of 23

Brian Keselowski

BK
Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Keselowski has stated he's going the full distance, but he's probably going to be off the pace as they search for horse power.

19 of 23

Martin Truex Jr.

Truex
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Martin Truex Jr. has been searching for a win for a while now. Last year, he was running well until the end, but ended up finishing fourth. This year, he's determined to win and probably will run strong.

20 of 23

David Reutimann

BK Racing
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

As a team that's building, BK Racing is doing a decent job. Reutimann's had a few mediocre runs this year, but he's probably going to run outside of the top-10, more likely around 15th or so.

21 of 23

Joe Nemechek

Front row Joe
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Nemechek finally has sponsors this year, but his partnership with Jay Robinson has made his cars worse and as a result, he finishes 10 laps down every time he runs a full race. He was better off without Robinson as a partner since his cars were better, but he's going to run the full race, but run about 20th.

22 of 23

Travis Kvapil

BK Racing
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Kvapil hasn't ran well this year due to mechanical issues for most of the races. When he doesn't have any problems, he can run in the top-25. Last year, Kvapil finished 10th in this race, expect him to run about the same this year.

23 of 23

Michael McDowell

No. 95
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

This is a weird scenario. Scott Speed, the team's usual driver, won't be at the track this weekend, but they wanted to run the race to gather up some data. Michael McDowell's team, Phil Parsons Racing, won't be at the track either. Therefore, the two just made a deal for this weekend's race. They both have deals with Ford which means no manufacturer problems. Expect McDowell to run just outside of the top-15.

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Every NASCAR fan looks forward to the Sprint All-Star Race. It’s an event where everyone comes together and throws everything out of the closet in an attempt to win a million bucks. Does it get better than that?

This year, there isn’t the traditional Sprint Pit Crew Challenge , which has taken place every year since 2004. However, due to a lack of funding, the event couldn’t go on this year. That’s all right though. The All-Star Race is still here and it isn’t going anywhere.

The Sprint Showdown is a preview of what’s to come for the All-Star Race. It’s a 40-lap dash broken down into two 20-lap segments. The race is an opportunity for some drivers and teams that haven’t made it to victory lane just yet this year. Each year, there’s some major teams in the race that have been so close to winning races, but they just haven’t been able to close the deal.

However, there are also plenty of teams trying to make names for themselves in a race that could put them into the All-Star Race. NASCAR’s seen some pretty intense racing in the Sprint Showdown. There have been some random winners, but there have also been some obvious victories. The only way drivers can make it into the All-Star Race from the Sprint Showdown is if they finish either first or second, or via the fan vote (as long as they’re on the lead lap).

This year’s Sprint Showdown has 23 entries. Two teams that participate in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule on a full-time basis won’t be running because they just don’t have the funding for it and they know they don’t have a shot at winning the race so there’s no point for them to pay the entry fee. There are some teams that have a very likely chance of making into the All-Star Race, but others are just going to use the Sprint Showdown as a test session for the Coca-Cola 600 on Labor Day weekend.

Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.

1 of 23

Jamie McMurray

Jamie
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

McMurray's having a great year and may be able to get back into victory lane during the Sprint Showdown if he has a good enough car.

2 of 23

Dave Blaney

Blaney
Jerome Miron-USA Today Sports

Blaney isn't going to contend for the win. He'll be just outside of the top-10 probably, but it's going to be more of a test session for he and his Tommy Baldwin Racing team.

3 of 23

Danica Patrick

Danica
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Yeah, um, Danica Patrick isn't going to victory lane this weekend. She's going to run decently considering she's been to Charlotte before and knows the track rather well, but she just doesn't know how to run upfront quite yet. However, if she doesn't wreck, expect her to be voted as the fan vote to get into the All-Star Race.

4 of 23

Casey Mears

Geico
Jerome Miron-USA Today Sports

Mears and his Germain Racing team have had a solid year. Besides a few setbacks, they've been a top-15 week on many intermediate tracks and he has a realistic shot at winning the Sprint Showdown, even though he'll probably run about fifth-eighth throughout the race.

5 of 23

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Roush
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Expect Stenhouse Jr. to contend for the win. He's been strong all year and would be a great way to impress his team and competitors.

6 of 23

Mike Bliss

Bliss
Jerome Mirone-USA Today Sports

Bliss has start and parked all year, but did run 140 laps at Texas. He may run the full Sprint Showdown since it's just 40 laps, but who knows with this team.

7 of 23

Paul Menard

Menards
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Menard is one of the hottest drivers on the circuit this year. He's in the top-10 in points and has been one of the most consistent drivers. Menard usually runs decent in these races, so he will likely run upfront and is one of the favorites for the win.

8 of 23

David Stremme

Stremme
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a decent year for this new team. Stremme's going to likely test out some new things this weekend that may work, but they may not. He's probably going to run outside of the top-10.

9 of 23

Jeff Burton

RCR
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Burton needs a win. Why not a non-points event just to gain a little confidence? With Richard Childress Racing having a bounce back year, expect Burton to run well during the Sprint Showdown.

10 of 23

Timmy Hill

FAS Lane Racing
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

He's in his second year with a struggling team that runs 35th each week. They need to test some things out and they're going to run poorly like always sadly enough.

11 of 23

Landon Cassill

Cassill
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

For an underfunded team, they've been running decently lately. Cassill is looking to impress sponsors and they're going to put their all into this race and the Coca-Cola 600.

12 of 23

J.J. Yeley

JJ
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

J.J. Yeley's been struggling like no tomorrow this year. The team isn't as successful with two teams as it was with just one. Expect them to run towards the back of the pack.

13 of 23

David Gilliland

Gilly
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In the last two years, Gilliland ran seventh and 15th in the Sprint Showdown. Expect Gilliland to run just inside of the top-10 since the team's third car won't be at the track, they'll put a little more effort into this car.

14 of 23

Juan Pablo Montoya

JPM
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

If this man doesn't get his act together, he's going to be looking for a ride soon. He had a great run at Richmond and did well at Darlington last weekend. Montoya can either do really well this weekend like he did last year, or really awful like he did in the years before last.

15 of 23

Aric Almirola

RPM
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Almirola is having a great year and is going to contend for the win. He's going to qualify in the top-5 and lead some laps for sure. With the way he's been running, it wouldn't be a surprise if he's going to run upfront in the Sprint Showdown.

16 of 23

Scott Riggs

Riggs
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This team has barely attempted any races and all they've done is start and park. It's a disgrace, but they'll probably park this weekend too. If they don't, Riggs is a wheel man and he'll surely give it his all.

17 of 23

Bobby Labonte

JTG
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

With the way this team has struggled, Bobby Labonte wants to run well. Last season, he finished 19th in this race. It's horrible to see what's happening to his career because the team isn't organized properly, but he's barely going to run in the top-15 this weekend.

18 of 23

Brian Keselowski

BK
Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Keselowski has stated he's going the full distance, but he's probably going to be off the pace as they search for horse power.

19 of 23

Martin Truex Jr.

Truex
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Martin Truex Jr. has been searching for a win for a while now. Last year, he was running well until the end, but ended up finishing fourth. This year, he's determined to win and probably will run strong.

20 of 23

David Reutimann

BK Racing
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

As a team that's building, BK Racing is doing a decent job. Reutimann's had a few mediocre runs this year, but he's probably going to run outside of the top-10, more likely around 15th or so.

21 of 23

Joe Nemechek

Front row Joe
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Nemechek finally has sponsors this year, but his partnership with Jay Robinson has made his cars worse and as a result, he finishes 10 laps down every time he runs a full race. He was better off without Robinson as a partner since his cars were better, but he's going to run the full race, but run about 20th.

22 of 23

Travis Kvapil

BK Racing
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Kvapil hasn't ran well this year due to mechanical issues for most of the races. When he doesn't have any problems, he can run in the top-25. Last year, Kvapil finished 10th in this race, expect him to run about the same this year.

23 of 23

Michael McDowell

No. 95
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

This is a weird scenario. Scott Speed, the team's usual driver, won't be at the track this weekend, but they wanted to run the race to gather up some data. Michael McDowell's team, Phil Parsons Racing, won't be at the track either. Therefore, the two just made a deal for this weekend's race. They both have deals with Ford which means no manufacturer problems. Expect McDowell to run just outside of the top-15.


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