For the fourth time in his career, Jimmie Johnson scored victory in the Sprint All-Star Race. He did it in classic Jimmie Johnson fashion by not coming alive until the last segment and then doing an all-out blitz to the finish. The race was rather calm, but the historic run by Johnson makes up for some of the vacant storylines this race had.
The race didn’t get far when the green-flag fell due to the rain that invaded the track and caused a red-flag rain-delay for 41 minutes and 28 seconds. Prior to the delay, Brad Keselowski broke a transmission and took himself out of contention for the victory. Once the delay ended, Kurt Busch was able to stay up front and win the first segment.
Segment 2 started out a little chaotic when Clint Bowyer made it three-wide for the lead. Bowyer was able to stay out front until a yellow-flag flew. The caution came out for Mark Martin who spun through the infield grass after Ricky Stenhouse Jr. bounced off the wall and into Martin in turn 4. Just a few laps following the restart, Kyle Busch was able to make his way to the lead for the first time of the night. He won the second segment and then the third after two straight segments of Rowdy domination.
New faces rose to the front for the fourth segment and Kasey Kahne was out front when the green-flag fell. Kahne managed to stay up front for about half of the segment and then Kurt Busch found his way back to the lead by lap 72. He went on to win his second segment of the night and he had the best average finish throughout the first four segments, so he was first on pit road for the mandatory stop.
The Busch brothers entered pit road one-two, but they didn’t leave that way. Hendrick teammates Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson had now taken over the top spot and they were in prime-position for the million dollars.
A ten-lap shootout to decide the race was ran very cleanly and once it started, Jimmie Johnson took off with only the million dollar prize on his mind. There was no contest for the victory and Johnson just sailed through the final laps. It was the second straight year that we’ve seen Johnson take the All-Star win with authority and he absolutely owned the final ten laps tonight.
Ultimately, this race means nothing and Johnson will be the only one leaving the track with pride. It may have been a nice race for the No.48 team, but the season will resume next weekend with the Coca Cola 600 and the intensity will pick-up as the drivers battle for 600 miles under the lights at Charlotte.