Saturday, May 29, 2010

After a late race surge, Kurt Busch wins the NASCAR All-Star race, but what about the Coca-Cola 600?

Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR

Last Saturday night was the 26th running of the NASCAR All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway that was anything but boring to say the least. Of course I will say that I have to give it to the NASCAR media and NASCAR in general for blowing the surprise of who won the fan vote on Twitter.

The first race of the night was the always exciting Sprint showdown, a last chance qualifier for two drivers to get into the All-Star race or go home.

The Sprint Showdown lived up to its name as several drivers found themselves running good, but to only go home instead of making the All-Star race including Juan Montoya getting crashed out with Regan Smith. After the race on twitter, @JennaFryer: ``That's what happens when you start by lottery and not by performance and he doesn't have any,'' said @jpmontoya. By the way, qualifying was rained out with only 3-4 cars left to qualify. You win some and you loss some.

It would also be a short night for Jeff burton who finished 3rd and the fast A.J. Allmendinger in the famous #43 come so close, but not make the All-Star neither. But it was Martin Truex Jr. making his way into the All-Star race by holding off Greg Biffle to win the Showdown.

There was one more way in to the All-Star for those still not qualified, the fan vote. However it was here that NASCAR made a mistake. About a half hour before the All-Star race and the announcement of who had won the fan vote, on NASCAR’s twitter, fans saw two tweets that left me saying, thanks for blowing the surprise guys.

@NASCAR: The fans vote Carl Edwards in #NASCAR #AllStar at 6:25pm, fan vote revealed at 6:55pm on television. Followed by @JennaFryer: Carl Edwards wins the fan vote. Breaking news.

Oh brother. Of course when it was announced, it was also “tweeted” live…@MissSprintCup: Thank you NASCAR fans for all your votes! Congratulations to the 2010 Sprint Fan Vote winner...Carl Edwards!

Note, in watching all of the All-Star coverage, I felt like I was watching a giant Sprint commercial about another new phone, wow look what Sprint has on their 4G network. Oh please, I bet that AT&T and Verizon’s 3G coverage is faster than Sprint’s 4G coverage any day. By the way, just for the record, I’m on Verizon prepaid and my father is on AT&T GoPhone and we both left Sprint a few years ago for better service.

Anyway, I was surprised to see that Carl Edwards won the fan vote, I mean my first reaction was alright the fans didn’t pick the winner like in 2008 with Kasey Kahne, so who’s going to win especially with this format of 50 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps and 10 lap shootout.

In the first 50 laps, there was a mandatory green flag pit stop (lap 25). I would have thought that spreading it out between lap 20 to lap 30 would be better, but of course a caution could come out in the middle. It was Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch dominating this segment. For everybody who is hitting the panic button on the #48 team, let it, there’s nothing wrong with this team. Kurt Busch wins segment #1.

In the second and third segments it was simply Jimmie Johnson. But you know the first three segments don’t mean anything, they are tuners for the final 10 lap segment and that’s where the battle will be won or lost. Personally at this point, I would prefer segment two and three combined to a single 40 lap segment, it would be better.

During the All-Star race, even I once again embraced Twitter with these tweets:
1. @4wide Hay, I'm actually enjoying the All-Star race. There's hard, competitive, side-by-side racing, go with it. Last 10 laps, watch that. TweetDeck in reply to 4wide
2. I wish Dale Earnhardt Jr. could run a black and silver paint scheme or american flag one ever race, great touch.
3. #NASCAR, I'm loving the RaceBuddy, can we have this every Cup Series race, now that's coverage and racing.
4. SPEED's Steve Burnes, there is no "new kyle busch", give us a break, its just something the #nascar media created.

But in the final 10 laps, all hell broke loss as Mark Martin would get turned going into turn 1, collecting half the field. The junkyard is filling up fast. Then the action shifted to teammates Denny Hamlin vs. Kyle Busch. Hamlin did nothing wrong here at all, Kyle Busch wasn’t even up to Hamlin’s rear tire, so Kyle Busch can be pissed at himself for driving stupid. Plus, this is the All-Star race, you don’t give up the lead. Nobody remembers second place.

Kyle Busch you don’t have the race won, and there is no “new Kyle Busch” especially when he is sitting in the 11 Hauler.

Amazingly enough, the action had just begun as Jimmie Johnson would be the next victim as he spun off turn 4 and went through the grass and took himself out of the race too. What a plow that splitter makes.

But even after hitting the wall two-three time, swearing his head off at his guys and what not, Kurt Busch wins the 2010 NASCAR All-Star race. However the story to me really was Martin Truex Jr. finished second, now that’s something to be proud of.

Can Penske Racing sweep both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday?
I’m going to simply say it’s possible, but no, not in my eyes. Earlier today, I wrote an article called “Can Helio Castroneves win the Indianapolis 500 from the pole and become a four-time winner?” where I said I believe that not only Penske racing can win the Indy 500, but I believe that Helio Castroneves will win it all and become a four-time winner.

However as for the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR longest race, that is a completely different story. I can’t even count on both hands how many driver shave a chance to win the 600 on Sunday night, that’s how competitive and unpredictable this race could be. Sure you have your normal cast of winner and and Jimmie Johnson stands on top of that list.

But even more, you can’t count out Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, and the list goes on and on. Even Jamie McMurray ad Kevin Harvick would make this list.

So for Penske Racing’s own Kurt Busch or Brad Keselowski, that would be a huge uphill battle for sure. And given Kurt Busch’s attitude in the car, a very big uphill battle, but anything can happen.

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