Due to a pop-up shower, NASCAR has cancelled Sprint All Star Race qualifying, one of the most anticipated qualifying sessions of the year. The field will be set per the rule book, resulting in Kevin Harvick starting from pole position. Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, and Jimmie Johnson round out the top-5.
A severe thunderstorm warning was posted for the Charlotte Motor Speedway area until 7:45 pm.
NASCAR will make every attempt to get the All Star race in its entirety.
The Sprint All Star Race will begin at 9 pm eastern on Fox Sports 1, weather pending.
Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle, and Kyle Larson used the Sprint Showdown to run in tonight’s Sprint All Star Race. Chase Elliott and Danica Patrick won the fan vote in order to advance. After being washed out yesterday, today’s Sprint Showdown showed intensity from the drivers to make tonight’s race.
In the first 20 lap segment, Trevor Bayne became the surprise winner upsetting Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney who were running one-two before the final one lap dash, after the caution waved with five laps to go.
In a Ford press release, Bayne stated, “We had a fast race car for no practice and no teammates in the earlier practice. My guys did a great job guessing where we should start at. The car was good in clean air, but in dirty air I just couldn’t go, so with one lap to go all you’ve got is the restart and I kind of treated it like it was for the win for the All-Star Race for a million bucks. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get in. I thought that would be our best shot. I got a good restart and off two there was a tiny hole and somehow our car got through it without getting beat up, so we’ll take it.”
When the caution flag flew in the first segment, Kyle Larson and others went ahead and took two tires because they knew that they would have to come down within two laps to take the mandatory two tires between segments. Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott started on the front row, but Blaney was black-flagged for jumping the restart. Bayne and Elliott battled it out on the final lap, leaving Bayne with a margin of victory of .005-seconds. During the segment break, Brian Scott was found to have a loose lug nut following the mandatory lug nut check after the pit stops.
The second segment started with Chase Elliott at the front, but once the segment started, he was tight, which caused him to drop in positions. Austin Dillon took the lead from Elliott. However, a possible tire issue occurred causing him to fall back, giving Biffle the race leader. Biffle was able to set sail to win the second segment.
Greg Biffle, being one of the few drivers to play the four tire strategy, explains the decision that ultimately led for him to win segment two. “Brian Pattie is a very, very smart veteran crew chief in this sport and it was his call. I was skeptical of it, trust me, but I tell you what, what really made the difference was we made a chassis adjustment, two left side tires, the car was really fast the last single lap that we made under green and I was able to pass four cars in one lap. Then we came down and the guys ripped off a great two-tire stop like a lot of other cars did and got us out third. Really, that’s what did it. I was being as aggressive as I could be, and I knew it was 20 laps and I knew that was my chance. The 3 car was a little bit loose and so was I, but I made some adjustments on my driving style and was able to get by him.”
The third segment saw the momentum from Chase Elliott return, a momentum that was lost during the second segment. The last half of the 10-lap third segment saw Larson and Elliott battling for the lead. Coming off of turn four in the final lap, Elliott and Larson were neck and neck heading to the line. In a 2003 Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch at Darlington style, Elliott and Larson were beating and banging, using the wall as the mediator. Larson was able to hold off Elliott to win the third segment.
“I knew (Elliott) was going to be good on four tires and was probably going to win the fan vote, so I knew I had to win because I knew I wasn’t going to win the fan vote,” Larson said. “So, I did what I could do. Hopefully, they can repair the right side good enough or we can pull out the backup — or whatever. "I’m sure Chase is upset with me. He has all the reason in the world to be but hey, tonight we’re going for a million bucks and I’ve never had a chance to do that before. Hopefully we can get this car back in victory lane and hold a big check later.”
Elliott and Larson are allowed to go to a backup car for the Sprint All Star race, according to NASCAR, if they cannot fix their cars.
Qualifying for tonight’s Sprint All Star Race will begin at 7 pm on Fox Sports 1.
After rubbing fenders with Carl Edwards, the Mac is back. Jamie McMurray has won his first career NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday evening, holding off an extremely hard charging Kevin Harvick.
McMuray led 31 laps en route to his third race at Charlotte (two points paying races and now the All-Star Race). The win is Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates’ first win at the Sprint All-Star Race.
Kyle Busch won the first segment after pole sitter, Carl Edwards, led the first nine laps. Busch was under heat from Jeff Gordon, but was able to hold him off by a half of a second.
Denny Hamlin stayed out after the first round of pit stops while Keselowski, Newman and Kurt Busch took two-tires only, trying to advance from the middle of the pack.
Kasey Kahne won the second segment after Denny Hamlin stacked up the field with a tire going down due to making contact with Greg Biffle while going three-wide on the front stretch.
Strategy came into play as four drivers opted to stay out after the second segment, but only had seven laps on their tires as they attempted to improve their total average finish. However, Kahne was able to win the third segment as well after maneuvering through traffic. Kahne hit the wall in the fourth segment, and said on his radio “"I hit it hard. I blew it bad.” Then, Kahne hit the wall hard at the conclusion of that segment.
“I can’t believe that happened…we had a great car. I blew a right front getting into one,” Kahne radioed into his No. 5 team after the second incident.
Jeff Gordon had “something break” during segment four, causing a fire to erupt from his No. 24 Chevrolet. Martin Truex Jr. had nowhere to go as Greg Biffle and he slammed into one another, ending both of their evenings.
Harvick won the fourth segment after having a hard fought battle with Jamie McMurray, who led 15 laps in that sector of the All-Star Race.
Here are the unofficial results from the Sprint All-Star Race:
1). Jamie McMurray
2). Kevin Harvick
3). Matt Kenseth
4). Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5). Carl Edwards
6). Jimmie Johnson
7). Clint Bowyer
8). Brian Vickers
9). Denny Hamlin
10). Brad Keselowski
11). Kurt Busch
12). Tony Stewart
13). David Ragan
14). Kasey Kahne
15). Josh Wise
16). Ryan Newman
17). Jeff Gordon
18). Martin Truex Jr.
19). Greg Biffle
20). A.J. Allmendinger
21). Kyle Busch
22). Joey Logano