Race: Sprint Cup Showdown followed by the NASCAR All-Star Race
Date: Saturday May 17, 2008
Track: Lowe’s Motor Speedway
Time: 7 pm ET
Bet it using your credit card at: Sportsbook
Saturday night is going to consist of two separate but extremely exciting events. The events that I am talking about are the Sprint Cup Showdown and the NASCAR All-Star Race. The first of the two events is the Showdown. This race is a 40 lap segment where the top two finishers earn spots into the All-Star race. The 40 laps are divided into two 20 lap segments with a break in between. This Showdown is not very complex in format. This race is one of the most exciting because drivers give it their all and drive ’em like they stole ’em to get into the following race, the All-Star race.
The All-Star race seems to change its format on a yearly basis. This year is no exception. Instead of four 20-lap segments like last year, there will be four 25-lap segments. This makes it much more complex for teams and drivers to make a decision about the mandatory pit stop. They are pushing their fuel so close to the limit, that it would not be a surprise if drivers won this race based on fuel but also on tires. Tire wear is also going to be a consideration because of the added laps. This is Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Tires always play a role.
Drivers also win money for winning each of the segments. Winners of the first two segments each get $75,000 while second place gets $20,000 and third place receives $10,000. The winner of the entire race will get the grand prize of $1 million. This race is specifically geared towards the fans. It is a race that does not count for points for the drivers but allows them to put all of their effort into driving. They will put it all on the line to make this a fantastic race because there is little to lose.
The way that drivers are qualified into the All-Star challenge are if they have wins from the previous season, wins from this season, prior All-Star wins, or if they are a NASCAR champion. This year, the field will consist of 24 drivers. There are 21 that already hold a spot. Two more will come from the Showdown and another driver is also voted in by the fans.
If you want to get into NASCAR and watch these talented drivers give it their all, this is the race to watch. These guys practice for hours on end just to give the fans a great race. Pit crews also play an important role in this race as well. This week, there were pit crew challenges, where Brian Vickers’ crew won. Typically, Matt Kenseth’s crew does very well here, but it’s nice to see a fresh face in the winner’s circle.
I’d have to say that Kyle Busch is the one to beat this
year. He has shown his domination and his momentum in every series of the
NASCAR circuit. He won last week and brushed off the boos pouring out of
the crowd when he took the checkers. He’s a badass driver. Like him or not,
the boy can drive the wheels off a car. He’s had previous wins at this track
and just has so much momentum coming into this weekend, that it’s hard NOT
to put money on him. The other guys to watch are Jimmie Johnson and Jeff
Gordon. This is Johnson’s track. He’s won here on multiple occasions and
has proven that he knows exactly how to get around this track. Jeff Gordon,
although not consistent, has something to prove. He has to get back into
the groove and prove that he’s back. This may just be his chance.
Kyle Busch is the one to watch though. In a race that does not count for anything but the glory, Busch is the guy to choose. He wants the glory more than anyone. That million doesn’t hurt either.