NASCAR Sprint Showdown 2013: Start Time, Lineup, TV Schedule and More

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2013

CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 19:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Dale Jr. Foundation/National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 19, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/HHP -  Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

While all eyes will be on Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Race, there are still three spots up for grabs, and they will be decided by the annual Sprint Showdown.

In what amounts to a pre-All-Star race, all eligible drivers who have not met the criteria to be included in the All-Star race will duke it out in a 40-lap sprint. The first- and second-place finishers will earn a spot in the ensuing All-Star race, and the winner of a special fan vote will capture the 22nd and final position.

It may not boast the same star power as the All-Star race, but the Sprint Showdown is often equally or even more exciting. That is probably because there are so many hungry drivers in the Showdown looking to make a name for themselves, so they are willing to go all out in an effort to make the big race.

Here is everything you need to know about the Sprint Showdown, including when and where to watch it, which drivers will be participating and who you can expect to prevail.


Where: Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.

When: Saturday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m. ET

Watch: SPEED

Starting Order: To be determined by qualifying on Friday, May 17 at 5:15 p.m. ET


Race Entries

Car No. Driver Make
1 Jamie McMurray Chevy
7 Dave Blaney Chevy
10 Danica Patrick Chevy
13 Casey Mears Ford
17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford
19 Mike Bliss Toyota
27 Paul Menard Chevy
30 David Stremme Toyota
31 Jeff Burton Chevy
32 Timmy Hill Ford
33 Landon Cassill Chevy
36 J.J. Yeley Chevy
38 David Gilliland Ford
42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevy
43 Aric Almirola Ford
44 Scott Riggs Ford
47 Bobby Labonte Toyota
52 Brian Keselowski Toyota
56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota
83 David Reutimann Toyota
87 Joe Nemechek Toyota
93 Travis Kvapil Toyota
95 Michael McDowell Ford


*Entries courtesy of


Projected All-Star Race Qualifiers


Winner: Martin Truex Jr.

Of all the drivers in this year's Sprint Showdown field, none of them have had more success in the race than Martin Truex Jr. Truex has won this race twice, as he took the checkered flag in both 2007 and 2010, and he has been very much in the mix even when he hasn't won. While a lot can happen over the course of 40 laps, the drivers don't really have a lot of time to make a move, so qualifying is of the utmost importance. If Truex qualifies well and is near the front, he will be in an ideal position.

According to Micah Roberts of Sporting News, Truex is favored to win the race at 9-5, so there will be plenty of pressure on him. He is a veteran who is familiar with the territory, though, so the occasion certainly won't be too big for him. There will be plenty of young, hungry drivers trying to usurp him, but look for Truex to stand tall.


Second Place: Paul Menard

After Truex, there are a number of potential contenders who could swoop in and nab the No. 2 position. Whether it's a rookie like Ricky Stenhouse Jr. or a veteran like Jamie McMurray, Aric Almirola, Jeff Burton and a host of others, there will be no shortage of competition. With that said, the smart money is on Paul Menard. Not only has Menard competed in this particular race many times, but he also is having an excellent year, as he sits in 11th place in the Sprint Cup standings with four top-10 finishes.

While Menard has never captured a top-two spot in the Sprint Showdown, he did finish fourth a couple of years ago and is among the most consistent drivers in the series. You don't necessarily have to be great in order to make it into the All-Star race. All Menard has to do is hang around the front and make his move late. He is a very savvy driver who isn't likely to put himself in a tough situation, so he has a great chance to nab a top-two finish.


Fan Vote: Danica Patrick

While older drivers like Bobby Labonte and Jeff Burton have plenty of fans out there, something crazy would have to happen for Danica Patrick to not win the fan vote. There are some diehard NASCAR fans out there who resent Danica and don't believe she is qualified to race in the Sprint Cup Series, but she is wildly popular and should have more than enough support. Just in case she doesn't, sponsor Go Daddy has been helping her campaign for votes on Twitter.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the most popular driver in NASCAR, but since he is already in the All-Star race, expect the torch to be passed to Danica. Even if she isn't a threat to win the All-Star race, plenty of people want to see her in it. She is one of the biggest stars the sport has ever seen, regardless of her on-track success, and the odds are absolutely in her favor to be voted in.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter


    Dame Time? Try Desperation Time

    Featured logo

    Dame Time? Try Desperation Time

    Adam Fromal
    via Bleacher Report

    Predicting When, Where Top QBs Land

    Featured logo

    Predicting When, Where Top QBs Land

    Matt Miller
    via Bleacher Report

    Big Decisions Facing NBA's Non-Playoff Teams

    Featured logo

    Big Decisions Facing NBA's Non-Playoff Teams

    Zach Buckley
    via Bleacher Report

    Win-Loss Predictions for Every Team

    Featured logo

    Win-Loss Predictions for Every Team

    Brent Sobleski
    via Bleacher Report