In some ways, getting into the Sprint All-Star Race is like getting into an exclusive club. Those not on the VIP list are going to be standing on the other side of the velvet rope without access to the events inside.
The criteria for getting onto the invite list were determined long ago. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners from 2012 and 2013, All-Star Race winners and Sprint Cup Series champions from the last 10 years are all welcomed. There’s some room at the bottom of the list reserved for the top-two finishers in the Sprint Showdown, the 40-lap race that immediately precedes the All-Star Race each year. And, the top Sprint Fan Vote driver – there’s a space for him or her. Beyond that, you’re going to be shut out of the exclusive event.
By virtue of his win at Martinsville Speedway in April 2012, Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Aspen Dental® Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has earned an invitation to participate in Saturday night’s All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Newman certainly knows how to get the job done when it comes to the annual classic, as he claimed the prestigious win in 2002. On that night, Newman wasn’t even qualified to race in the main event at the start of the night but raced his way in by winning what is now known as the Showdown.
After that already amazing feat, Newman and his rookie team had nothing to lose. After all, they weren’t even supposed to be part of the show. The team strategized, Newman drove his race and they all benefited when fans voted to invert the field for the final 20 laps. He took the lead with 17 laps to go and never looked back. With that win, Newman and his team proved that a new kid on the circuit had what it took to come out on top. He became only the second rookie in series history to win the All-Star Race.
The No. 39 team will be joined by another VIP: Tina Johnson is the latest Aspen Dental patient to be included on the rear quarter-panel of Newman’s No. 39 Chevrolet. Continuing on a program that started in 2012, Johnson, a patient of the Aspen Dental office in Waukesha, Wis., was selected to have her photo featured on the No. 39 Chevrolet based on comments she provided regarding her dental treatment on the Aspen Dental Facebook page. Not only will she be along for the ride this weekend, she’ll spend the next three Sprint Cup races riding along with Newman, as well.
For those who will be fortunate enough to be at the track this weekend, there may be no better way to show off their smiles than in victory lane alongside the No. 39 Chevrolet.
The VIP action doesn’t stop at Charlotte. Keep an eye on the Aspen Dental Facebook wall this week for an opportunity that could really make this summer one to remember.