It’s the day after NASCAR’s All-Star Race, a usually very exciting race that I still like to call “The Winston,” and I have very little to talk about. For a while, it looked like a good battle was shaping up between Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards, but Busch dropped out with mechanical problems and Edwards ended up falling back in the pack.
There were basically no cautions in a race that’s usually littered with them because drivers are jockeying hard for position and going for broke. Putting an even worse taste in my mouth was how it ended. Kasey Kahne, who was voted in by fans after the warm-up race and didn’t even earn his spot in the main event, took the lead on pit strategy and held off Greg Biffle for the win.
I have nothing against Kahne, as he was the first guy to the line. But the All-Star Race is supposed to be for people who have won recently, or ran well enough in the Showdown to transfer in. He did neither, yet now he is guaranteed a spot in the All-Star Race for 10 years because of this win, regardless of whether he ever wins a Cup race again. He should really send a Christmas card and a small check out to all his fans, as they just put a lot more money in his pocket.
In order to spice up the event for next year, some changes need to be made. The return of inverting the field would be a good start. That made the best guys have to race their way up front several times during the race, which creates lot of opportunity for good racing and possible fireworks.
A.J. Almendinger was on top of the world after winning the Showdown and transferring to the main event. This young driver still getting used to the transfer from Indycars is finally coming into his own. Of course, it may mean nothing. In my mind he’s no better than a 25th place driver any given Sunday, and there were 24 cars in the field in the main event. He can claim the title of best of the rest for the short-term, but we’ll soon see if he can ride this momentum to better finishes on Sunday.
Dale Jarrett is officially retired now after a 21st place finish in the All-Star Race Saturday night. While I must admit I did my share of booing Mr. Jarrett back when he was among the dominant cars in the late 1990s (I once saw him win a race at Michigan Speedway that was caution-free and had only five cars on the lead lap at the end … and was not so pleased with that show), I have to applaud him on a great career. His first Cup series win, at Michigan in 1991, is one of NASCAR’s great highlights, as he held off Davey Allison in an awesome photo-finish while driving for the Wood Brothers. He was among the few cars that could compete with Jeff Gordon during his dominant stretch, and took home a title in 1999. He is very respected in the garage area, and deserves a tip of the cap for a great career. Let’s hope he does a decent job as an announcer so I don’t have to start disliking him again.