Thursday, May 14, 2015

All Star Weekend “News” and Notes: Special Expanded Edition

With so much going on this weekend—and so much of it confusing—its easy to get discombobulated.  Here’s an event-by-event breakdown of Nascar’s All Star festivities (slogan: like the Pro Bowl, except the competitors care)

Sprint Showdown: Like The Showcase Showdown, Minus The Big Wheel
—Via Jayski, there are thirty drivers/cars entered into Friday night’s Showdown “preliminary event”.  Virtually anybody who’s attempted a points race this year is eligible, and virtually all those eligible are competing.  Here’s a quick list of who is NOT competing in the Showdown, and their reasons why: Ryan Blaney (philosophical differences), Ty Dillon (solving crimes), Ron Hornaday (plastic surgery), Bobby Labonte (working on time machine), Justin Marks (working on new “Marks Bros.” logo), Johnny Sauter (running truck race/ennui), Brian Scott (tattoo removal), Reed Sorenson (buying lottery tickets), Mike Wallace (pummeling Kenny), Michael Waltrip (interview with Ronco).
"OK Jamie, now hold the check
in the most-awkward way possible!"
—The Showdown’s format is actually quite simple: there are two segments of 20 laps each (caution flag laps only count during the first segment, for some reason).  The winners of each segment advance to the All Star Race the following evening.  Immediately after the two segments are over, one of two things will happen: If Danica Patrick has NOT won one of the segments, she will be announced as the fan vote winner.  If Danica Patrick HAS won one of the segments, dozens of columns about how “Danica has arrived” will be published.

Truck Series Race: Our Schedule Makes Less Sense than IndyCar’s
—The North Carolina Education Lottery 200 Truck Series race will start shortly after the Showdown ends, or whenever Michael Waltrip can successfully pronounce “North Carolina Education Lottery 200” without a lisp (event may go past 4am).

Sprint All Star Race: Formerly Special Paint Scheme Palooza
—The following drivers are eligible for the All Star Race—points-paying race winners from 2014 and 2015, previous All Star Race winners, and past Cup champions.  Drivers also have to had attempted to run a full series schedule the previous year, aka The Geoff(rey) Bodine Rule.  These drivers are joined by last night’s Showdown segment winners, and the Fan Vote Winner.
—The format of the actual event is surprisingly simple, with one notable exception.  There’s four 25-lap segments (in which all laps count), after which the Fox broadcasters’ heads will explode when trying to figure out the average finishing positions of those four segments—the driving order is then determined by average finishing position.  This is THEN followed by a mandatory four-tire pit stop (aka Time For Penalties On The 11 Car!)—the way the cars come off the pit lane will determine the running order for the final 10-lap, green-flag-only sprint to the finish.
—The winner gets $1,000,000, locks themselves into the All Star race for the foreseeable future, and gets to date the hot redhead in the Sprint “Stupid Rich Auction” commercial.

Xfinity Series Race: “Is this heaven?” “No, it’s purgatory, aka Iowa”

—The oddly named 3M 200 (wouldn’t they want to make it the 3M 203, or maybe even 3M 333k?) runs Sunday afternoon, and this year’s crop of Said Heads are said to be in full bloom already.