All-Star weekend

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Million-dollar purse nothing to sneer at

It’s All-Star weekend in Charlotte and unlike all the other sports who loaf around in their all-star games, NASCAR’s version is serious business. There are no points involved which makes everyone get after it a little bit more, making the event more spectacular than a regular NASCAR race. The prize at the end for the winner is a whopping $1 million dollars.

To be eligible for the All-Star race, a driver must have won in 2009 or 2010, be a past Sprint Cup Champion in the last 10 years, or have won the All-Star race within the last 10 years. Only 188 drivers are currently eligible to start based on those qualifications, giving the fans the best of the best to race it all out.

Three other drivers will make the race as well. Prior to the All-Star event there will be a qualifying race called the Sprint Showdown. The first and second place finishers of that 40 lap race will qualify for the All-Star race and then there will be fan voting to determine the final entry.

The Sprint Showdown qualifying race will be one of the more exciting races just because there are so many quality drivers in it this year. Drivers like Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton and Juan Pablo Montoya will all be scrambling to qualify for the $1 million prize.

To get a good read on who should do well at Charlotte this week, we can go back and look at the races of Charlotte’s sister tracks of Las Vegas, Texas and Atlanta. All three of the tracks are similar in size and banking and require similar set-ups.

Jimmie Johnson won at Las Vegas and has finished in the top-12 of all three 1.5-mile races this year. Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne haven’t won on any of the three tracks but both are the only drivers to finish in the top-10 on all three.

Kurt Busch won at Atlanta as well as finishing fourth at Texas. Denny Hamlin won at Texas, but didn’t fare well in the other two races.

The driver who might be the best of them all on these type of tracks doesn’t have anything to show for it. Jeff Gordon had the best car at Las Vegas and Texas, but only has a third place finish to show for it.

This looks like the type of race that is Jeff Gordon’s to win. He’s been knocking on the door every week but no one is answering. Even though there are no points involved, the $1 million dollar payday will be pretty sweet.

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