Forget American Idol; Vote In Your NASCAR Idol to All Star Race

Mary Jo BuchananSenior Writer IMay 13, 2009

While fans throughout the country have been voting their favorite American Idols through to the finals, NASCAR fans are participating in a whole different voting process.

Race fans are frantically voting on, texting on their Sprint phones, or casting their ballots in person at their local Sprint stores, all in an attempt to get their favorite driver into NASCAR's All Star Race this weekend.

Today, Sprint released the names of the top 10 drivers currently leading the NASCAR All Star vote race. They are as follows in alphabetical order:

1.   A J Allmendinger

2.   Bill Elliott

3.   Joey Logano

4.   Jamie McMurray

5.   Juan Pablo Montoya

6.   David Ragan

7.   David Reutimann

8.   Elliott Sadler

9.   Martin Truex, Jr.

10.  Michael Waltrip

Sprint has also revealed that a mere 20,000 votes separate the top eight in the running, which is almost as close of a margin as most NASCAR qualifying sessions. Only 4,000 votes separate the top two candidates.

The top two vote getters to date are reported to be AJ Allmendinger and Bill Elliott. Just like American Idol finalists, Kris Allen and Adam Lambert, these two racers could not be more different.

Young gun Allmendinger has been campaigning relentlessly for the fan vote. He has shamelessly given away boxes of his sponsor's pizza, Hunts Brothers Pizza, to "encourage" fans to cast a ballot his way.

AJ has also passed out "Vote for AJ" T-shirts to any fan who will wear one. Even his wife Lynne and dog Misty have gone into campaign mode, sporting AJ gear, as well as Facebooking and Twittering for votes.

Contrast that to more seasoned veteran Bill Elliott, or "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville" as he has been nicknamed. Elliott is quiet, humble, and most certainly not campaigning openly for the spot, instead opting to let his record speak for itself.

Yet Elliott and Allmendinger are almost in a dead heat for the fan vote into the coveted All Star Race, NASCAR's battle of the best.

Of course, there are other ways to get into NASCAR's most elite event. Race winners from previous and current Cup seasons are eligible to race.

The top two in the Sprint Showdown, a qualifier event for the All Star Race, can also transfer into the show. 

Cup champions over the past 10 years also make their way in as long as they are active drivers and have competed in at least one event in the past and current year.

And then there is that one last chance to get in. The fan vote will be that final hope for many drivers not able to enter the foray any other way.

The Sprint Fan Vote closes at 7:30 PM EDT on Saturday, May 16. The race will begin at 9:00 PM EDT.

So, move over Adam and Kris. Although one of you will finally reign supreme based on the American Idol fan votes, there is another voting contest in town, the NASCAR All Star Fan Vote.

Will AJ's campaign for the fan vote pay off? Or will fans opt for a more seasoned fan favorite like Elliott or Waltrip?

Will the top vote getter be extreme rookie Joey Logano or "The Franchise" David Reutimann?

One thing is for certain. No fan can complain about who gets in unless they vote. 

So, NASCAR fans, vote now and vote often. Your NASCAR Idol is depending on it.