The Gaynalysis is just one gay NASCAR fan’s take on the race weekend.
Drama!! Drama!! Drama!! Beating, banging, fists flying, carnage everywhere! It’s the Sprint All-Star Race and the talking heads at Speed told me that’s what we could expect. And we got just that, well, except for the beating, and banging, and fists flying, and the carnage.
The night began with the Sprint Showdown. The Showdown is the race to get into the All-Star race. The top two finishers in the Showdown advance to the All-Star race along with one other driver that is voted on by the fans. The fan vote was almost certainly going to Dale Earnhardt Jr., robbing us of drama and suspense, until Jr.
blew it at the end won the Showdown. Yes, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won! Finished 1st. Lead every single lap of the Showdown and put the talk-to-the-hand on the rest of the field. The first couple laps were exciting with Jr. battling Martin Truex Jr. for the lead, but once Jr. cleared Truex, he was gone and would not be challenged again for the lead. A.J. Allmendinger started on the pole but had to follow the pace car to the pits for a flat tire as the rest of the field took the green flag. A.J. stayed on the lead lap and was able to catch up to the rest of the field after the first of two 20 lap segments were completed in the race. A.J. and Jamie McMurray raced each other hard for the 2nd place position, with A.J. topping McMurray and advancing, with Dale Jr., to the All-Star race. Dale Jr’s win, which meant they would take the 2nd place finisher of the fan vote, left us all hanging on our seats to find out who would win the fan vote. Would it be Truex? Logano? McMurray? No! It was… Bobby Labonte? Ok fine. Labonte advanced and finished the All-Star race in 19th position. Allmendinger would advance and finish the All-Star race in 11th.
The All-Star race had a little
threesome three-wide action and a whole lot of sand-bagging. The race consisted of four 20-lap segments and one final segment of 10-laps (that’s 90 laps total, in case you are counting). Each 20-lap segment winner got to move to the front of the field for the final 10-lap segment. Jimmie Johnson won the first segment and then was not seen again until the final 10-lap segment, sandbagging finishing 21st, 21st, and 19th in the next three segments with no real incentive to do anything else until that point. Segment two went to Matt Kenseth who beat Dale Jr. for the win. Segment three was won by Brad Keselowski who beat Kasey Kahne to the line by .006 seconds in what was, by far, the most exciting finish of the night. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the 4th segment beating Marcos Ambrose by 1.618 seconds. After the final 20-lap segment, Johnson, Kenseth , Keselowski, and Earnhardt pitted in that order. None of them took tires and they came out in that same order for the final 10 laps. At the green flag, Kenseth got off to a slow start allowing Johnson to jump to the lead and never look back. Johnson lead the final 10 laps and won his third All-Star race, tying Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon for the most wins in the event. Johnson’s win was worth $1,071,000. Other than the cautions separating the segments, there were two that were brought out by Greg Biffle, and Carl Edwards, who both had blown motors during the event. No pass in the grass, no real sparks, no wrecks, no fisticuffs, and no meltdowns by Kurt Busch, lead to yet another ho-hum race in this writer’s opinion. The very tame 2012 season continues.
Follow Adam on Twitter @aclovelace