Saturday’s NASCAR All-Star Race had nothing at stake when it came to the Sprint Cup. Yet since the annual event gives out $1 million to the winner, the drivers went all out to win. They had to jump through more hoops to do it than usual, with the contest taking place in four segments. But in the end, it turned out like most NASCAR races this season, as Carl Edwards led the way over the other All-Stars.
The circuit’s current points leader has been the most consistent driver of the year, having won once and having finished second three times. With top 10 finishes in all but two races this season, Edwards was a clear favorite to win the $1 million race in Charlotte, N.C.
After winning two of the first three segments, Edwards took command in the decisive final sprint. With no cautions to throw him off, and with barely any challenges from the other drivers, the triumph became all too easy for him.
In fact, most of the buzz wasn’t about Edwards, but about how everyone was trashing the race. Virtually every columnist, like the Sporting News’s Matt Crossman, agreed that it was “a real bore,’ with no thrills or suspense in spite of the hype.
Every year, the All-Star race is hyped as a Wild West type of shootout, where everyone goes more all out than usual. Since it doesn’t impact the Sprint Cup race, and so much prize money is at stake, it can inspire some downright brutal racing. But that wasn’t the case this year, as Edwards made it too easy, and no one had anything to stop him.
In fact, the only thing that stopped him was at the end, as he tore up his car while spinning around the grass. Edwards has long been known for his post-victory celebrations, as symbolized by his back flips out of the car. But this time, his showboating nearly caused a big accident, as Sports Illustrated’s Brant James admitted that he “has too many celebrations.”
But if Edwards continues the pace he has been on, he will have plenty of chances to fine-tune his victory act. In fact, he will hope to try it again in Charlotte next week, as the All Star race is just the first half of the motor speedway’s annual doubleheader.
Next Sunday’s rematch in Charlotte is one of the crown jewels of NASCAR, as the Coca Cola 600 is held once again on Memorial Day. Because that battle counts, and it is the longest endurance test of the year, Edwards and his rivals will have to go all out even more. Of course, fans are bound to hope for more thrilling results, especially on an even bigger stage.
Sporting News- “Even with the new big screen, All Star Race a real bore”
CBS Sports- “Sprint Cup- NASCAR Sprint All Star Race”
SI.com- “Edwards takes celebrating too far; Busch’s situation gets sadder”