Race: Sprint Showdown and All-Star Race
Date: Friday May 20, 2016 and Saturday May 21, 2016
Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Time: 7 pm ET both nights
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com
Wow! I have to say that this year, the racing has been spectacular. This past weekend's race at Dover is no exception. With Jimmie Johnson knocking out half the field on the restart due to rear end troubles, the race was left to Matt Kenseth. Kyle Larson did his best to try and get his first win in the Sprint Cup series, but Kenseth ran him hard enough to keep him from taking the win. Both Larson and rookie Chase Elliot also ran each other pretty hard in the closing laps, with Larson prevailing to get a second place finish. This was probably the best racing I've seen this year and definitely the best racing I've seen in several years. The drivers ran each other hard but they ran clean racing. Larson managed to bump Kenseth into the wall at one point, but Kenseth maintained his cool and made it work all the way to the checkers. This was a huge win for him, as he had yet to win a race this year to solidify his position in the Chase.
This weekend, the guys are taking a break from points racing as we head to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the All Star weekend. This is a great weekend for drivers and fans alike. The drivers get to take a bit of a break from the pressure of points racing and race both Friday and Saturday night for the fans and for a good amount of money. The Sprint Showdown is the first of these battles where drivers who are not qualified for the All-Star race on Saturday night have an opportunity to race their way in. This is always an exciting race under the lights as the drivers battle with nothing but a win on their minds. The greatest thing about these races is the passion that the drivers have because they have nothing to lose. The All Star weekend is all about the win and the bragging rights that come along with it.
The format for both of these races is a little bit different. The Sprint Showdown is a total of 3 segments. There are 2-20 lap segments and 1-10 lap segment. Ultimately, the winners of each of the 3 segments will earn a spot in the All-Star race. The rules regarding the starting order include being set by practice speeds in the first segment. The second segment will be set by pit road order. This will be done after a mandatory pit stop, which must include at least a 2 tire change. Finally, the starting order for the third segment will be set by pit road order just like the second segment.
The All-Star race will also run 3 segments. The starting order for the first 50 lap segment will be determined by qualifying. There is also a mandatory green flag pit stop to include a minimum of 2 tires. Segment 2 will be ordered by pit road order after the first segment. There will be a break between segment 1 and segment 2, which will also include a minimum mandatory 2 tire stop. Interestingly enough, the second segment green flag pit stop must come before lap 85. The last portion of All-Star race is a 13 lap closing segment. This dash to the finish will be determined by a random draw that decides if the top running cars (either 9, 10, or 11 cars) must stop for a mandatory 4 tire stop between segment 2 and 3 where pit road will remain closed to all other cars. After those cars pit, they will line back up with the remaining cars that didn't pit resuming behind them. What I found particularly interesting about the 13 laps is how they came about this number. NASCAR pulled ideas from several current drivers in order to reformat the race this year. Brad Keselowski was instrumental in determining why the last segment would be 13 laps. He said that they figured out it takes about 8 to 12 laps at Charlotte to drive through the field to get to the front of the pack. By allowing a final segment with 13 laps, it gives the drivers a pretty good shot to accomplish this. That being said, it's going to be a pretty hard task to do without a caution somewhere in between there. Let's take a look at your potential winners this weekend heading into Charlotte with all of that info:
My Pick to Win: Kyle Busch
Middle of the Road Pick: Jamie McMurray
Dark Horse Prediction: Chase Elliot. Bet YOUR Showdown/All Star Race picks using your credit card at the web's best auto racing betting site: Bovada! You get a 50% bonus on your first deposit too!
So, Chase Elliot doesn't have a start yet in the main event. He's going to have to win one of the three segments on Friday night or get a fan vote to get into the All Star race. I think that's doable. He's been extremely competitive and really has a knack for the intermediate tracks. Look for him to get into the main event and race aggressively to get the win. Jamie McMurray is a previous All-Star winner. He's had a run of bad luck, but with nothing to lose, I think that he can run as aggressively as he likes to run and push towards the front with a good car. Finally, Kyle Busch thrives on the competitiveness of this race. With $1 million on the line and no points to lose, you can bet your bottom dollar that Busch will be the cream of the crop on Saturday night. Let's see where these guys are standing after Dover.
Here are your current top 12 after last week's race:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Kyle Busch
3. Kurt Busch
4. Carl Edwards
5. Jimmie Johnson
6. Brad Keselowski
7. Chase Elliot
8. Joey Logano
9. Martin Truex Jr.
10. Austin Dillon
11. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
12. Matt Kenseth
13. Denny Hamlin
14. Jamie McMurray
15. Ryan Blaney
16. Kasey Kahne
Overall, this weekend is about fun. It's about the competition. It's also a great opportunity for the drivers to gain some practice for the big race coming up the following weekend here at Charlotte Motor Speedway. While it's not a points race and drivers will inevitably get aggressive (I would too if $1 million was on the line!), they surely don't want to ruin their cars if they can help it. This weekend will be a fun couple of nights watching these guys fight it out on the track and gain some valuable info about their cars and their competitors. Look for a lot of wrecks, a lot of temper, and one very happy team at the end. Stay tuned for an awesome All-Star weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway! For more prop bets for this race and NASCAR betting options, check out 5Dimes Sportsbook!
Virginia Vroom's Picks - Most people think Danica Patrick is auto racing's most popular female. We have something to say about that! She can flat out pick'em!
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