Wednesday, May 15, 2013

2013 NASCAR All-Star Race Preview: Any Reason to Look Outside of Gibbs?

The NASCAR Sprint Cup teams won’t have to do any traveling over the next two weeks, because their next two races will be at Charlotte, North Carolina, where most every driver and crew member live. Saturday night is the All-Star race where $1 million will be on the line for the winner to take home, and then the following week will be season’s longest race of the year, the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend.

Charlotte’s 1.5-mile high banked layout gives all the Cup teams another chance to see if they can beat anyone from the Joe Gibbs Racing stable. Between Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth, they have won at all three 1.5-mile tracks this season. The duo also won at California’s two-mile track and Darlington’s 1.336-mile track. That’s five tracks that require the most horsepower to get around than any other run so far, and five wins total for team Gibbs.

They might be batting 1.000 on the season, but when $1 million is up for grabs and there are no points involved like Saturday’s All-Star race, things figure to get very interesting. Busch, Kenseth and now with Denny Hamlin back in the mix, will all be the drivers to beat, but their competitors will not think twice about knocking them around.

Unlike other All-Star events in sports where they go through the motions, and don’t play any defense, making their event look nothing like the sport they play, NASCAR’s All-Star event usually produces better racing than we’ll see all season just because no one has to play it safe and no points are involved. And then they have that dangling carrot of $1 million to chase.

To be eligible for the All-Star race, a driver has to have won a points race in either 2012 or 2013, won an All-Star race within the last 10 years, or won a Sprint Cup title within the last 10 years. For all others who don’t meet the criteria, they can race themselves in by finishing first or second in the Sprint Showdown, a 40-lap qualifying race prior to the All-Star race. The final way a driver can get in is by fan voting.

Read More Here......Showdown and All-Star Predictions

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