Saturday, May 19, 2012

Rating the All-Star Race: 4 Stars ****

NASCAR’s all-star’s fired up for an intense 90 laps Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway in what might have been the best race of the season. That said, Jimmie Johnson once again to the drama out of the end and ran away to grab his third all-star win. Still, the All-Star Race gets a 4 Star Rating.
Fans have waited pretty much all season for a race where the drivers really got after it and raced hard for every spot. Boy, we certainly had that Saturday night. This race had by far more three-wide racing and hold-your-breath moments than there has been in any race this season outside Daytona and Talladega.
This race might have been considered for a five-star rating, but Johnson took any drama out of the finish.
Plus, the All-Star Race also showed that NASCAR can have a good race without wrecks. All of the complaints about the lack of wrecks had begun to get a little ridiculous. Hopefully people understand after watching this race that we don’t have to have cautions for a good race.
Sure, the segments meant the drivers had to race hard only 20 laps at a time, but they also weren’t content to ride around all night. The drivers certainly were up on the chip a little more Saturday night than for a normal race, but there can be full 500-mile races that have more green-flag action than what we’ve seen lately.
A couple of additional factors may have played into why this was such a good race.
First, the race was at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which is an excellent track for NASCAR racing. Drivers can race side by side, but the track is also narrow enough that it creates very tight situations. The high side in Turns 1 and 2 creates a great run down the backstretch, but a car on the low side in Turns 3 and 4 can hang on and actually come out of the turn with the lead. Having those options is critical to a good race.
Second, NASCAR shortened the side skirts on the sides of the cars to take away some downforce. That is a factor that will take a few more races to determine how much it affects the cars, but early indications are it helped take some of the stability out of the cars to allow for more movement throughout the field.
The format changes by adding a segment also worked out very well. Even though the winners of each segment dropped to the back until the end, the other 17 or 18 cars raced plenty hard to fill the action. Plus, Johnson might have very well kicked butt all night if he had stayed up front.
Anyway, congratulations to Johnson and the #48 team. Although many people can’t stand their success, Johnson is the Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt or Jeff Gordon of this era. He and Hendrick Motorsports are putting up historic numbers that will become the standard for future generations.
Hopefully the All-Star Race is a sign of things to come. It has been a quiet start to the season, but the last couple of weeks have been better.
Now once we get through this week, one of the best racing weekends of the entire year is upon us. Almost every big-time racing series has a great race on Memorial Day weekend.
So stock up on some good food and have a great week, everybody.


  1. I guess that we didn't watch the same race, the format sucked, and racing with the COT is flat out boring. The "clean air" has really given the car out front a huge advantage, give me back the old style cars/racing.

  2. 4 stars??? Are you serious? That was as terrible as all the mile and a half stuff has been this year. Awful format, no fight for the win, the winner hanging out at the back for most of the race. When Greg Biffle blowing up is the highlight of the night you know it was a stinker.

  3. You have lost it. This was as boring as it gets. The format allowed the winner to save his car compared to everyone else and then gave him a starting advantage. A final pit stop that involved no strategy. This was not worth $0.20 much less the price of admission. What a gagger!

  4. Wow! What race did you see? Surely you must have been in attendance at the track. The broadcast I tried to watch was like a giant commercial with some racing thrown in to change it up a little between the same commercials being replayed for the hundredth time. Totally Waltrip, they finally got Mike Joy sounding as confused as the blabber brothers

  5. I give it 4 Stars out of 10! As has been said, what race did you watch?

  6. Folks, besides a closer finish, what more do you want? The field was in a restrictor-plate type pack most of the night, often three-wide several rows deep. Keseloski won segment 3 by. 006 of a second. Sorry there wasn't a wreck, but you have to understand that there can be good racing without a wreck.

    1. None of these commenters said that they wanted a wreck. The problem was the whole sandbag strategy. That's just lame. A terrible format choice. Clean air was waaay too important- even a decent handling car in the front is going to check out. The racing in the rest of the pack was good though surprisingly courteous for a non-points race. But yeah the sandbagging- though a loophole in the rules, I lost respect for all 3 of those drivers that did it. And a huge mistake on nascar's coming up with this exploitable format. Changes are def needed to it for next year or I won't even bother watching.

  7. The race I saw was 4 stars for sure! On a scale of 1 to 50!

  8. The four stars you are talking about must of been from getting hit on the head. The format was really stupid. The winners of each segment should of been able to do something on their cars on last pitstop. Why have a pitstop and not do anything? Junior couldn't even put on new tires. It was all set up to be a race on pit road for the lead again. You want a good race, then give most of the payout to the lap leaders without NASCAR's manipulations of the rules,etc.

  9. I liked the race overall, but agree that Johnson stunk up the show at the end. I think the simple way to fix it for next year is line up the four segment winners at the front by how they finish segment four. That way they have to at least race each other to get ahead of each other and hopefully keep them trying to win that fourth segment still. Also, make a mandatory 4 tire pitstop before the last segment. And ultimately, the last segment should be 20 laps like the rest of the segments so the guys have a little more time to battle.

  10. The event was over-hyped, the pre-race show was silly, the format encouraged segment winners to hang out back, the racing was bland....just another week in this year's version of NASCAR. Four stars??? More like four naps.

  11. Your telling me that an "All-Star" race that allowed the 48 to buff the fenders to clean them off is a race? Where the segment winners were bored until the final 10 laps because they cruised in the back until those laps was exciting? It was an embarrassment!

  12. 4 stars???? oh yeah 4 out of 100,now I will buy that, I DVRed the the whole night from 7pm until end and watched the complete show and races in exactly 28 minutes, now that is exciting, what a joke

  13. Michael in SoCalMay 21, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    The format overall wasn't terrible (the sandbagging was lame but was what the rules allowed for). But racing at the 1.5 - 2.5 mile tracks (except for the plate races) are just plain BORING. Move this race around, there are a number of good tracks within a couple hours of Charlotte to keep this an almost-home type of event and still have racing at good tracks (Richmond, Bristol, Martinsville, Rochingham & North Wilkelboro are all relatively close).

  14. 4 stars is a bit generous.

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