Sprint Cup All-Star Race, Success or Train Wreck?

The Sprint All-Star race was pretty much an experiment. Depending on what you believe, Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski came up with the format, so that meant immediately you have to hate it, right? I loved it. I’m not ashamed to say that I saw better racing that I had seen in many moons.

I saw Kyle Larson and Joey Logano giving it their all for a win. We saw Trevor Bayne driving more aggressively than we’ve ever seen to gain a spot in the big show. We Saw Greg Biffle looking like the Biff of old, powering to a win in the second section. We saw Larson and phenomenon Chase Elliott advance to the main race with a spirited fender-banging finish. What more could any race fan want?

Oh yeah, the format. Many griped about it and those included Grand Marshal Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, and many, many others. Most of it might have been the early report that Keselowski conceived the format (if Brad of Joey had anything to do with anything, it has to be wrong—notice the huge sounds of displeasure for both at driver introductions), but regardless of the confusion, fans, commentators, or even I had at what was going on, it was a great show. Maybe it was the late announcement of the format that didn’t give the powers that be time to come up with contingencies that might have happened like Kenseth’s late caution that didn’t happen, but that was a roll of the dice that his team just missed. Should NASCAR have given him a pass? On the radio, his crew chief said he understood that if the situation happened, there would be a red flag to straighten out the problem, but nowhere was that found in the rules. Bad luck is part of racing.

I liked the format. If the format is used again, I am sure they will fine-tune it to make it better. For me, it was a thrilling spectacle. We saw passes for the lead in the final laps and folks that normally don’t get to be in the limelight show their stuff. In the end, it was an exhibition race, so what’s the big deal? Logano won a million dollars, but he still doesn’t have a win in the real championship competition. Larson, Biffle, Bayne, and Elliott gave their fans something to brag about, and everyone should be happy, but they’re not. Just another day in the World of Sprint Cup racing.

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Ron Fleshman has followed NASCAR racing since attending his first race at Martinsville Speedway in 1964. He joined the Motor Sports Forum on the CompuServe network in the 1980s and became a reporter for Racing Information Systems in 1994. In 2002, he was named NASCAR Editor for RIS when it appeared on the World Wide Web as www.motorsportsforum.com. He can now be found at www.ris-news.com. Ron is a member of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association. You can find Ron following and reporting on the top three NASCAR divisions each week. As a lifer in his support of racing, he attends and reports on nearly 30 events a year and as a member of the motor sports media, his passion has been racing for 47 years. He lives with his family in rural West Virginia and works in the insurance industry when not on the road to another track.

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