Thursday, May 19, 2011

2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup: 8 Predictions for the Showdown and All-Star Race. UPDATED

I truly believe that Steve Waid said it the best, The NASCAR Sprint All-Star race – “a special event that showcases NASCAR’s best competitors while, at the same time, offering stock car racing and its sponsors a unique marketing platform.”

But now, even though the NASCAR All-Star race has changed over the years, especially the format section, of course for 2001 being with four segments, in my eyes, its still one of the coolest events of the season and with no points on the line, the 2011 All-Star seems to be shaping up to have another good 100 lap race.

2011 All-star race format (Credit: Jayski.com):

- Segment 1: 50 laps with a mandatory green-flag pit stop on Lap 25 at which time teams must pit and take on four tires. Following the end of Segment 1, the caution flag will be displayed for an optional pit stop.
- Segment 2: 20 laps with the caution flag displayed at the end of Segment 2 for an optional pit stop.
- Segment 3: 20 laps with a 10-minute break at the end of Segment 3. Teams may make normal adjustments to their cars during this break. The finishing order after the third segment determines the field’s lineup for the pace lap prior to the start of the fourth segment.
- Segment 4: Once the field takes a lap behind the pace car, all cars must enter pit road for a four-tire stop. The order in which the cars exit pit road is how they will line up for the 10-lap shootout with only green-flag laps counting

So with the Sprint Showdown and the All-Star race coming up this Saturday night and yes, you guessed it, live on SPEED, I figure that this is the perfect time to make my predictions to what I think is going to happen in both races.

In the Showdown, two things will happen:

1. A wreck will take out half the field.
2. Two drivers will drive away from the rest of the field, but in the second half, one driver will chase them both down and win the Showdown. A.J. Allmendinger, Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be those three drives.

3. The Sprint Showdown will has a big impact on the fan vote. You see, for a driver to win the fan vote, them must finish on the lead lap to be eligible to be voted in by the fans. I would say that if Dale Jr. advances by the Showdown, the fan vote will go to Brad Keselowski, otherwise Junior will win the fan vote, unless he isn’t on the lead lap and then who knows.

UPDATE: NASCAR changes requirement for 2011, for a driver to be eligible to be voted in by the fan vote, the car must be race-able and but doesn't include finishing on the lead lap like in previous years.

And top 5 revealed in fan vote (On Friday after I originally wrote this post): The top five drivers in alphabetical order are: A.J. Allmendinger, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bobby Labonte, Joey Logano and Brian Vickers.

The All-Star race:

4. One driver will have a hand in Kyle Busch hitting the wall and not winning the All-Star. I believe that this wouldn’t be a surprise to many considering two factors. First, Over the last few years, Kyle Busch has pissed off several drivers including the latest being Kevin Harvick and some of them want to get back at him. And second, just watch last years All-Star race, Busch throw it all away when he misjudged turn 2 following Denny Hamlin (BTW: Hamlin didn’t do anything wrong in that incident, it was all Kyle) and hit the outside wall.

5. Juan Montoya will cause the “Big One” during the All-Star race. The Big One will take out a quarter of the field including Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and more because Juan Montoya doesn’t give enough room to another driver.
6. Regan Smith will be the wild card in the All-Star race, but it will be a duel between Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson for the victory with Johnson winning the race and $1 Million Dollars. 

After the All-Star race:

7. Kyle Busch and crew will have a war of words with another driver, but no fight will break out. Sorry CMS, but at least you get to keep your money.

8. The All-Star race wouldn’t be what many expected and it will leave the announcers in the booth speechless expect Darrell Waltrip, because he’s never speechless. 

Now that’s a prediction list that could very well come true on Saturday night. But before I go, I just want to wish Trevor Bayne a speedy recovery and I hope to see him back at the track real soon, but only when he and his team know he’s ready. Good luck Trevor.



Full Disclosure: This article was originally published on Brian Vermette's former blog called BVinsight, however once RaceDriven.com was re-launched and rebrand, BVinsight was renamed BVDaily with 33 of 44 articles being published here on RaceDriven due to subject.