Race: NASCAR Sprint Showdown followed by Sprint All-Star Race
Date: Saturday May 16th, 2009
Track: Lowe’s Motor Speedway
Time: 7 pm and 8:30 pm ET
This weekend is going to bring out the true personalities of the drivers and their teams. This weekend, we are going to be watching the Sprint Showdown followed by the Sprint All-Star race. The Showdown is going to be held at 7 pm and is basically a way for the drivers who have not qualified for the All-Star race to race their way in. The number one and number two finishers of the Showdown will move on to the All-Star race.
It seems like the format of the race changes on a yearly basis now. This year, the format is pretty straight forward, but let’s take a closer look at eligibility. There are some pretty strict guidelines as far as who is allowed to race and who is not. The most inclusive rule for allowing drivers to race in the All-Star race is anyone who has won a race in any of the Cup seasons who is an active driver. The next way in is to be one of the two top finishers in the Showdown that happens right before the big race. Another way is to be a champion of the Cup series for any of the previous past ten years. Along with being a champion, the driver must be active and have competed in at least on Cup event during the last two years. Finally, there is one spot reserved especially for the fans choice.
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The All-Star is comprised of 4 segments. The first segment is 50 laps with a mandatory green flag pit stop on lap 25 where teams are required to take 4 tires. After the first segment, there will be a caution flag where teams have the option to make another pit stop, although this will cause them to loose their track position. The second segment is a 20 lap segment with no mandatory pit stop. As with the first one, the caution will fly following the completion to allow teams to make an optional pit stop. The third segment is also 20 green flag laps; however, there is a 10 minute break at the end of the segment and instead of a pit stop, teams are allowed to come in during the ten minutes and make any necessary adjustments within that time period. Finally, the fourth and last segment is a 10 lap shootout.
In the first three segments, green and yellow flag laps count, while in the fourth segment, only green flag laps count.
The Showdown is composed of two 20 lap segments with a caution in between.
For the All-Star, I really have no idea who to pick. This race is as unpredictable as Talladega or Daytona just because it’s no-holds-bar and all drivers are just looking to win. This race is the greatest of the great when it comes to drivers so there’s a pretty equal matchup. If I had to pick anyone, Kyle Busch is my choice for this race. He’s the only one willing to get out there and race like there’s no tomorrow. I’d look for him to be the one to watch and the one coasting to victory lane on Saturday night.
Just for kicks, here’s your current top 12 in points. It won’t change this weekend, but at least you have an idea of where these guys stand for right now.
1. Jeff Gordon
2. Tony Stewart
3. Kurt Busch
4. Jimmie Johnson
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Jeff Burton
7. Kyle Busch
8. Ryan Newman
9. Greg Bifflel
10. Matt Kenseth
11. Mark Martin
12. Carl Edwards
This weekend is for the fans, so sit back, grab a beer, and enjoy the race!