All Star Race Review
by Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com
This weekend’s Showdown and All-Star race left many scratching their heads. The Showdown was a great race with A.J. Allmendinger taking the checkers and Sam Hornish Jr. grabbing second place for both drivers to advance to the All-Star race. The first twenty laps of the Showdown were dominated by Brian Vickers, but he felt like he had a tire going down and decided to come in during the caution period. The first segment had two caution periods when Patrick Carpentier had a solo spin on lap 3. Elliot Sadler spun in turn 2 when A.J. Allmendinger came up the track and rubbed Sadler’s front left fender just enough to send him into the wall.
The second segment saw Allmendinger take the lead from David Ragan on the opening lap. Ragan fought hard and tried to block advances from Sam Hornish Jr. but was ultimately out-driven, leaving Ragan in the dust.
Kasey Kahne earned a spot in the All-Star as the final
competitor by being voted in by his fans. As a matter of fact, Kahne not
only made it into the All-Star race, he won it! This is the first time in
All-Star history that a driver who was voted in won the race. Kahne was
very appreciative to his fans for his win and also gave kudos to his team
for this spectacular win. The first segment was dominated by Kyle Busch.
He was driving away from the field and continued to do so in the second
segment until he lost a cylinder on lap 36. Denny Hamlin also had engine
problems leaving Tony Stewart as the only Gibbs car to survive the night.
Jimmie Johnson led the field to the green flag for the final segment, but quickly lost the lead to Hamlin. Once his engine went, Kahne assumed the lead, with Greg Biffle charging from behind. Biffle could not manage to get around Kahne, and his car continued to get tighter and tighter despite new tires taken during the pit stop between the third and fourth segments. Kahne won this race on pit strategy. His crew chief called for fuel only, and it’s the track position that he gained from that stop that allowed him to get to the front and to stay there. Biffle was in disbelief that he was beat by a car who had no tires when he took two, but those risks are the ones that win races sometimes.
The All-Star race, despite its lack of cautions, remained exciting because the drivers were putting everything on the line. Busch was driving his car to the ground, which may be the reason that he lost a cylinder. Carl Edwards led for a while after Busch’s car expired, but Jr. wanted the lead as well. There were several lead changes, but the race simply came down to pit strategy. As there were no cautions on the track except for the mandatory ones during segments, drivers had little to no leeway when it came to track position strategy. They were unable to utilize the caution laps to their advantage like they typically do during this race or during any race. Regardless, your top ten finishers in this All-Star race are as follows:
1. Kasey Kahne
2. Greg Biffle
3. Matt Kenseth
4. Jimmie Johnson
5. Tony Stewart
6. Ryan Newman
7. Sam Hornish Jr.
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
9. Mark Martin
10. Carl Edwards
Stay tuned this week for the preview for one of the biggest races of the season, the Coca-Cola 600!