In a race featuring the best in the sport, Jimmie Johnson came away with the win at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. This exhibition win gives him a nice payday of $1 million.
Johnson becomes the first person ever to win the all-star race four times in his career.
This year's event featured some interesting rules for the 90-lap race. The race began with four different 20-lap segments, with the winners of each getting a head start for the final 10-lap sprint. The best average finish sets up the order for the final sprint.
While there was plenty of competition from Joey Logano late and Kyle and Kurt Busch among others throughout the event, no one was able to catch Johnson by the end of the race.
Here is a look at the final standings from Saturday's event:
|7||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||88|
|Other Notable Results|
With this short of a race, it is not surprising that there was drama right from the start in the opening segment.
Three laps in, Brad Keselowski had to go into the garage with a bad transmission. While he was not happy about it, the driver seemed to understand the situation, according to NASCAR on SPEED:
However, things started to get worse for the entire field as rain started to come down during Lap 13, causing a long delay in the action.
At least Hendrick Motorsports knows how to entertain themselves in the poor weather:
After about a 45-minute delay, the skies cleared and the action once again picked up on Charlotte Motor Speedway:
When the race continued, Kurt Busch took control of the race as he had from the start. He led for each of the first 20 laps and finished on top at the end of the first segment.
In the second segment, this became a family affair as Kyle Busch decided to take over as the leader. The brother got off to a nice advantage and ended as the winner after 40 laps, guaranteeing him a spot near the front of the final sprint.
This was not a great moment for all of the drivers, unfortunately. During Lap 25, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. lost control and bounced off the wall directly into Mark Martin (via NASCAR):
The veteran eventually got back onto the track, but this was not what he was expecting in the first half of the race.
Once the next segment started, Kyle Busch went right back after the lead. He continued to fight hard, and the No. 18 car also was able to get yet another win in segment three. By this point, he had lead an impressive 29 of the 60 laps of the race.
It was obvious who was showing up to this exhibition to win, and these brothers fought hard to beat each other throughout the event. NASCAR's Twitter account pointed out the success of the family:
The action continued to pick up in the fourth segment, as Kasey Kahne got out to a strong start. However, he was once again passed by another Busch as Kurt ended as the leader.
This caused the 81st lap to begin with Kurt Busch, then Kyle Busch followed by Kahne in third and Clint Bowyer. However, the championship was completely up for grabs once the cars went in for a final pit stop.
As noted by Hendrick Motorsports, Kahne was the first one off of pit road going into the final restart:
After that, however, it was a complete shootout. Jimmie Johnson quickly took the lead and never gave it up. This was the second win in a row at the all-star race, and he proved once again that he is truly one of the best ever to compete in this sport.
Here is a look at the driver celebrating in victory lane (via Team Lowe's Racing):
Kurt Busch only managed a fifth-place finish after doing so well throughout the race.
Carl Edwards had a bit of a disappointing run after starting in pole position. The 2011 winner was never really in contention and finished in 10th place.
The fan-vote winner Danica Patrick finished in 20th place, although she does have the honor of being the first female in the all-star race's history.
Despite all of the action, this event was for the fans. It featured the best drivers in the sport and the most popular ones as well.
You could see from the introductions that this was not a normal race, with each competitor and the pit crews coming out in dramatic fashion, as captured by Sunoco Racing:
Johnson took away the big paycheck, but there were a lot of winners during this exhibition event.