It’s All-Star weekend in Charlotte and unlike all the other sports who loaf around in their all-star games, NASCAR’s version is serious business. There’s no points involved which makes everyone get after it a little bit more making the event more spectacular than a regular NASCAR race. The prize at the end for the winner is a whopping $1 million dollars.
To be eligible for the All-Star race, a driver must have won a race in 2009 or 2010, be a past Sprint Cup Champion in the last 10 years, or have won the All-Star race within the last 10 years. Only 18 drivers are currently eligible to start based on those qualifications giving the fans the best of the best to race it all out.
Three other drivers will make the race as well. Prior to the All-Star event there will be a qualifying race called the Sprint Showdown. The first and second place finishers of that 40 lap race will qualify for the All-Star race and then there will be fan voting to determine the final entry.
This years Sprint Showdown qualifying race will be exciting just because there are so many quality drivers in it this year. Drivers like Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, and Juan Pablo Montoya will all be scrambling to qualify for the $1 million prize.
To get a good read on who should do well at Charlotte this week, we can go back and look at the races of Charlotte’s sister tracks of Las Vegas, Texas, and Atlanta. All three of the tracks are similar in size and banking and require similar set-ups.
Kurt Busch won at Atlanta as well as finishing fourth at Texas. Denny Hamlin won at Texas, but didn’t fare well in the other two races.
The driver who might be the best of them all on these type tracks doesn’t have anything to show for it. Jeff Gordon had the best car at Las Vegas and Texas, but only has a third place finish to show for it.
Humpy Wheeler used to give pretty good advice on who would run well in the All-Star race. The guy was almost always correct in his predictions, an absolutely amazing run; even for those of us in Las Vegas. I used to always try to handicap who Humpy would pick just based on the information at hand for everyone, but the one variable that couldn't be calculated was all the research he did on his own in the garages. He always got the best information and couldn't be matched.
My Humpy Wheeler pick this week based on all the information, and going with Humpy's past tendencies, is Jeff Gordon. Even though it's not likely Humpy will make a pick this week, my instincts and knowledge of following the legend lead me to believe Gordon would have been his choice.
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
SATURDAY, MAY 22, 2010