[media-credit name=”Brad Keppel” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]It is no secret that the 2011 edition of the Sprint All Star Race was anything but exciting. When you come to the annual All Star Race, you are right to expect one of the most exciting and intense races of the season. There are usually sparks flying, cars torn up and feelings hurt. Tonight was anything but that. We saw racing that we would normally expect in the Coke 600. Cars were strung out all over the race track and the only real battles for the lead or lead changes where under pit stops. For the first time maybe ever, the Sprint Showdown race was the one to watch if you were to only tune into one of the two races.
The Sprint Showdown showcased many drivers that have never won a Sprint Cup Series race, are on a long winless streak or have never won a NASCAR race of any kind. The first was the case for one David Ragan as he took his Doug Yates powered Roush Fenway UPS Ford into victory lane. But his win wasn’t without competition. Ragan had to get around Brad Keselowski who was absolutely killer on restarts to claim his first win in the Cup series. The signature moment of the race however was the massive crash early on in the race. Landon Cassil blew a tire, spun and came back up the track and the hopeless Derrike Cope happened be in the wrong spot at the wrong time. Cope, with nowhere to go, T-boned the Cassil machine and caused one of the scariest impacts in recent NASCAR memory. Both drivers were okay which says a lot about the safety of these race cars. Dale Earnhardt Jr to no surprise won the Sprint Fan vote ensuring that NASCAR’s most popular driver would be in the All Star field.
The race was kicked off with the All Star style driver introductions that showcase not only the drivers, but the the crew as well. The race went green and right away you could tell that the Roush cars of Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards were the ones to beat. Greg Biffle stepped out to a lead and held on to win the first fifty lap segment. That then lead to the twenty-five lap segment number two. That segment saw the late race battle between the 5 car of Jimmie Johnson and the 99 of Carl Edwards. Edwards passed Johnson with two to go and went on the claim segment two. Segment three looked a lot like a Nationwide Series race as Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards were the front runners but unlike Nationwide races, Carl Edwards won and Kyle Busch was second. Then came the ten lap shootout to decide the winner of the million dollar race. Carl Edwards won the battle off pit road from the required four-tire stop and never looked back. Kyle Busch tried to make a late race run by switching up racing lines but it was too little too late for Rowdy. Mr. Edwards then proceeded to attempt a “Matt Kenseth style” celebration and then wrecked his race car in the process.
The 2011 edition of the All Star Race wasn’t what people were expecting. They all expect an all out brawl on the race track with lots of cautions and tempers flaring like fourth of July fireworks. Instead we saw strategy and actual racing on the track like we will see next week in the 600. Now, for an All Star race, this was a bad race. If it was the Coke 600, this would be considered an exciting race for the most part. You win some, you lose some. Hopefully next year when All Star time comes, we will see a “traditional” race.