The All-Star race, NASCAR's version of an All-Star game, where the sports best come out to put on a show for the fans. With the winner bringing home $1,000,000, the All-Star race is a high caliber event, but yet I believe it has lost its sparkle.
In 2015 I will be attending my third All-Star race. My first being in 2007, I saw a great show including Juan Montoya taking out half of the Showdown field, Kevin Harvick winning, and who can forget the Busch brothers taking each other out in turn 2. In 2008 I witnessed history, when Kasey Kahne became the first ever fan vote winner to go on and win the main event. The All-Star has created some amazing memories for many race fans, but recently I feel as though the event has fallen short. Drivers being locked in after winning a segment, and laying back for the finale just doesn't seem exciting to me. Now, some of the things I am going to say are a bit outrageous, but hell this is my blog, and I am going to tell you what would be my DREAM not what will really happen, but my DREAM All-Star race.
So first things first, lets address the Showdown. For those who may not know, NASCAR does All-Star night a bit different than other sports. In other leagues players have already been selected and those that don't partake in the events do not have the opportunity to step up into the big event. NASCAR offers a unique opportunity for drivers to go from zero to hero in one night.
To review, the criteria for making it into the All-Star requires a driver to have won a race in the current or previous season, be a previous champion of the series, or have won the All-Star sometime in the last handful of years. Usually there are 20-30 drivers that fall short of these expectations, so NASCAR likes to add a twist. The All-Star usually consists of around 25 racers, but NASCAR adds 3 drivers to the main event through the Showdown. To make it simple the Showdown is like a last chance qualifier where the 1st and 2nd place finishers race their way into the All-Star event.
Clint Bowyer, Aj Allmending, and Josh Wise (Fan Vote winner) celebrate transferring into the 2014 All-Star race
Also, NASCAR gets the fans involved and allows a fan vote winner, where the driver with the most votes (voting takes place over a few months span) gets to race in the main event. This driver starts the race in the rear, but gives the fan a say in who races. And as in 2008 when Kasey Kahne stole the show, it can even determine the out come of the race. As for the Showdown, there is not really anything I see that needs changing. I like the format, and think it fits the event well. Now, on to the fun stuff, the All-Star race.
While looking at the main event I want to propose four changes. I would like to see drivers switching cars, inverting the field at least once, adding points, and a 2-lap dash for cash. First, drivers switching cars. Before I say anything I know this one is far-fetched and will never happen. This has been a dream idea of mine for years, though it will never come true. I wish that for one night NASCAR mandated that a driver had to switch cars. By this I mean that an underdog driver would get to drive a high class vehicle. This would allow fans to see who the best drivers truly are. Say you put Jimmie Johnson in the #35 Front Row Ford, driven by Cole Whitt and Whitt in the #48 Hendrick Chevy? I bet the outcome would be interesting. It would show how much of what we usually see is talent or just good equipment.
Again, I know this would never happen, but wouldn't this be so exciting? Could the usual drivers really remain a threat? Could the underdogs take over in great equipment? I am just saying this would be complete craziness. NASCAR would have to find a way to mandate who gets what car, but I have two ideas. One, NASCAR could do a random draw for each car, or invert the driver line up. With this format I wouldn't allow the Showdown qualifier and fan vote winner to switch cars, because it wouldn't be fair to give drivers that barely made it a chance to race the fastest cars of the night. I know this is ridiculous, but why not at least throw it out there.
Second, inverting the field. Inverting the field is basically flipping it, which means whoever was running first would restart last, and who ever was last restarts first. Before I thought this was rather ridiculous and unfair, but hey if we want to make things exciting why not? Wouldn't it be exciting to see Kyle Busch or Denny Hamlin have to run back through the field in order to win? I would suggest that NASCAR puts up plenty of money for drivers that win each segment (the All-Star is usually ran in 4-5 segments of 25 laps or less). Perhaps throwing in $100,000 per segment might help.
Third, adding points. I know the All-Star has been built on 'no points' and strictly for the fans, but why not add points to make drivers race harder? Also, the winner of the All-Star deserves some kind of credit right? Make it to where winning the Showdown gets you 5 points, winning a segment in the All-Star gets you 5 points, and winning the whole thing gets you an additional 10 points. Only the winner of a segment or event would get the points, which can be vital to moving up in the Chase standings. I think this would only add to the competition. And for those wondering, I am not suggesting that the winner of the All-Star should get an automatic Chase bid. That would be exciting, but I don't think it would be fair to drivers who win traditional events.
Lastly, I want the race to end with a green-white-checkard. This year NASCAR released that the format will consist of 5 segments including four 25 lap segments and a final 10 lap segment (totaling 110 laps) for all the marbles. My suggestion is that NASCAR continues to have multiple segments, but lowers the length of segments as the night progresses. The first segment should be 40 laps, followed by a 30 lap segment, then 20 laps, 10 laps, 5 laps, and finally ending with a legendary green-white-checkard finish (107 laps total, just 3 less than this year).
Jamie McMurray celebrates after winning the 2014 All-Star race
For those curious, a green-white-finish means there will be 2 laps of racing remaining. The field will take the green, come around take the white, then finally take the checkard to end the race. I like the idea of a green-white-checkard, and if NASCAR is all about the fans this would be a great way to get butts in the seats. Yes, the 10 lap ending idea is good, but lets be honest, the way racing at Charlotte works it that the more dominant car usually gets a lead and extends it without much of a battle for the win. I think this change would be a great addition, and think its the most realistic!
Well, there you have it, 4 crazy and unique ideas that would be in my dream All-Star race! Comment and tell me what you think, what would you like to see??