It Takes an All-Star to win the All-Star Race, Jimmie Johnson is the Man

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY

The NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers were worrying about tires and their points last week at Darlington Raceway.  This week there will be none of that. NASCAR is at the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Sprint All-Star Race.  They will be racing for all the marbles, err money. No Points racing there.

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.  The high banking in the corners makes this track faster than many of the other 1.5 mile tracks.

In order to race in the All Star race a driver must have won a point’s race last year or won a point’s race this year. Drivers who have won the All-Star race Sprint Cup Series Champions in the last ten years are also eligible. If a driver doesn’t qualify any of those ways, then they can race in the Sprint Showdown. The winner and runner up of that race move on to the All-Star race.  There is also a driver who is voted in by the fans.

This year the drivers entered in the race are Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, Marcos Ambrose, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, David Ragan, Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards.

Each week we use driver ratings to pick who will win the race. Those ratings are good to use at this track but the no holds barred basis of this race makes that stat alone suspect.  Kyle Busch, with his 106.7 rating, edges out Jimmie Johnson at 104.9.  The average finish is where it’s at. Matt Kenseth leads all drivers with an average finish of 6.3 but Jimmie Johnson is close behind at 6.6.

The only unknown is whether or not Matt Kenseth can take his All-Star magic and give Joe Gibbs Racing their first win ever in this event.   Either way, three time All Star race winner Jimmie Johnson will be the man to beat at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

It means a lot now, it’s got a million more reasons if you are able to win all the segments.  It’s a huge payday.” Jimmie said, ”It’s fun to race without points and that sets you up for a nice Memorial (Day) weekend and a good starting point with your race car.

If you cannot get to Charlotte Motor Speedway to see the All-Star Race, it will be televised on Speed, Saturday May 18th, at 7 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a 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. On Pinterest at NASCARnews. Also add to your network on Google.

Top 12 Driver Rating at Charlotte
List consists of drivers with more than one NASCAR Sprint All-Star race start
Kyle Busch…………………………. 106.7
Jimmie Johnson…………………… 104.9
Matt Kenseth……………………….. 91.1
Jeff Gordon………………………….. 84.0
Carl Edwards……………………….. 83.6
Ryan Newman……………………… 82.4
Kurt Busch………………………….. 81.9
Mark Martin…………………………. 80.6
Joey Logano………………………… 80.5
Greg Biffle……………………………. 80.5
Kevin Harvick……………………….. 79.8
Brian Vickers……………………….. 79.6
Note: Driver Rating compiled from 2005-2012 NASCAR Sprint All-Star races (eight total).


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