The 2012 and 2013 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Races were very different. The rules were different. Qualifying was different. Everything but the winner was different.
Jimmie Johnson returned to victory lane in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race for the fourth time in his NASCAR career and second year in a row. Johnson picked up a nice check too which totaled more than $1 million. Though he’ll probably receive approximately half of that, it’s still plenty of extra cash in his daughter’s college fund. However, when can Johnson get away from controversy when he wins a race? Seemingly never.
SPEED TV, which was broadcasting the race, believed that Johnson was to enter pit road before the fifth and final segment outside of the top-10. However, due to a miscalculation by those working behind the scenes, they evidently believed Johnson was given the fourth position incorrectly by NASCAR which caused plenty of grief from NASCAR fans.
We have really good people @speed, but tonight a mistake was made calculating average finishes. 48 entered pits in correct position, 4th.
— Mike Joy (@mikejoy500) May 19, 2013
It was made clear by NASCAR that Johnson was given the correct position after an interesting way to end the evening. Johnson ended up passing his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Kasey Kahne, for a record fourth All-Star Race win once the drivers went back to the green flag with 10 laps to go in the final segment.
Johnson’s win isn’t the only major story of the day. It’s Hendrick’s eighth NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race win with the first coming in 1995 by Jeff Gordon.
Kurt Busch battled his brother, Kyle Busch, for the lead throughout the majority of the first four segments. The pair led 29 laps each in completely different scenarios. The elder Busch brother, Kurt, was attempting to bring a small team a much needed victory which could’ve given them a giant leap of confidence entering the second half of the season. However, his handling went away towards the end of the race and finished fifth. Kyle’s problems occurred when he made contact with Ryan Newman which effected the toe of his car, but he rebounded to finish third.
2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Brad Keselowski, broke his transmission on the second lap of the race which caused his evening to end early. Danica Patrick, who won the Sprint Fan Vote, had a horrific evening. She proved that she didn’t belong in the race as she wasn’t competing for the win at any point in the All-Star Race and probably would’ve finished last if Keselowski didn’t have his problem and Mark Martin didn’t get spun which eventually caused him to lose three laps in the closing stages of the race.
For the most part, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race was rather uneventful. There was a 40 minute red flag due to rain, but it gave teams a chance to work on their cars. Usually, during a red flag, NASCAR doesn’t enable teams to touch the cars, but since it’s a race that doesn’t count, they changed numerous rules around.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.