Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rating the All-Star Race: 1 Star *

The stars were supposed to come out and the gloves were supposed to come off, but neither happened Saturday night at the All-Star Race. The race reserved for the biggest winners in the sport came up well short of expectations and gets a 1 Star Rating.

While this was one of the most boring All-Star races in the 27-year history of the event, there isn’t really one reason that sticks out as to why the intense battles and crazy moves never materialized.

Maybe it was the tires, but they were the same combination as what the teams ran at Darlington and that was an incredibly exciting race. Or, maybe it was simply the fact that Carl Edwards had a great car and stunk up the show. That’s been known to happen. Both Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Gordon come to mind as drivers who have been given a special car for this race, and they went out and dominated with it.

Edwards currently leads the points standings, and is starting to put together the type of season that could lead to winning the championship. Even though this race didn’t pay any points, drivers who are on top of the sport often shine in the All-Star Race, as they should; this is a race that tests the best against the best.

Another factor on Edwards’ side is how the Roush-Fenway Racing cars have run on the intermediate tracks this year. The Ford cars have struggled the past few years in general as a new engine was in development. However, that engine has been fully implemented this season and is starting to show the power the Ford camp was hoping for. Next Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 will be the ultimate test in this engine’s durability, but so far there hasn’t been any cause for concern.

Had the All-Star Race been a regular event, the race would have probably been more interesting. A few races this season have been saved because strategy came into play in an otherwise bland race, but the setup for the All-Star Race takes that aspect out. At first it looked like the teams that pitted on lap 61 had made a great call because they got off sequence with the leaders and had enough fuel to the finish, but the mandatory four-tire pit stop before the final 10-lap shootout made any pit strategy irrelevant.

Often, the All-Star Race doesn’t need strategy to be interesting and that lack of strategy usually makes for a wild final segment, but that simply didn’t happen. After the cars got through the final restart, the field strung out and raced pretty much single-file to the end of the race.

So, next week strategy will almost certainly be a factor in the longest race of the season and one of the best days of the year for a motorsports fan. Memorial Day weekend is always a great racing weekend and it’s pretty difficult to dominate the 600 because of the length of the race and the changing track conditions as the race goes from late afternoon into the night.

Plus, we’ve got the Hall of Fame induction ceremony Monday night and make sure to check in here for coverage of the event as Monday Morning Crew Chief will be on the scene.


  1. the mandatory 4 tyre stop before the final 10 laps killed any chance of some interesting strategy playing out. I was already looking for youtube videos of the V8 Supercar racing before we hit halfway, lol

  2. Can we give zero or negative stars? Wow, that race sucked - format, hype, racing action and esp the announcing. Horrible!

    On a good note - have a great time at the HOF induction!! We definitely want to hear all about it...

  3. tezgm99 - Pretty big disappointment after as much hype came along with the race.

    klvalus - Ha, yeah not a race that will make the end-of-season highlights, as the last few certainly have.

    At the Hall now. It's great. Stories and photos will follow.