NASCAR All-Star Weekend: Surprising, Not Surprising

Ben BombergerSenior Writer IMay 17, 2009

CONCORD, NC - MAY 16:  The Office Depot/Old Spice team celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 16, 2009 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

One word can sum up this past weekend's All-Star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway: wow!

The action was packed, the racing was great, and Jimmie Johnson didn't win (OK, so the last part is a little biased, but the majority of us were happy with that!).

The All-Star weekend is about one thing: winning $1 million, and nothing else.

Sure, everyone wants to finish well, but nobody remembers who finished second, third, fourth, or 15th. Everyone remembers the guy who brought home the $1 million check: Tony Stewart.

Anyway, onto the things Surprising and Not Surprising from this weekend.

Surprising: The final 10-lap segment was great

To be honest, I was worried about the final 10-lap segment. By the looks of the first three, I thought for sure that Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 DuPont Chevy would check out from the field and coast his way to a third All-Star victory.

The phenom Kyle Busch, however, took matters into his own hands and went from fourth-place to challenging for the lead in a matter of a few yards.

The three-wide racing eventually led to the demise of Gordon, and opened the door up for an action-packed finale to the race.


Not Surprising: Tony Stewart won the event

It was just a matter of time before Smoke visited Victory Lane in his owner-operated Chevy, and the All-Star race was the perfect opportunity.

Saturday night's race was about one thing: winning.

Stewart could hang it all out there and go for that first win, without worrying about points at the end of the day.

Smoke and the No. 14 team have been inching closer and closer and now sit second in the point's standings.

It may not be a points paying win, but that will come shortly, perhaps this Sunday night.

Surprising: Joey Logano voted fan-favorite

With the likes of Martin Truex Jr. in the top-five of the fan vote, I thought for sure the 18-year-old rookie was a long shot to get voted in.

It seemed to me that most people were tired of hearing about "Sliced-Bread" and wondering when he start rising into the star he was promised to be.

Logano, however, soared into the All-Star race with the votes and ran top-10 most of the race, finishing eighth.

Guess those 300,000+ Home Depot employees' hands are tired of texting and/or clicking a vote for Logano.

Not Surprising: Brad Keselowski was non-existent in the All-Star race

Call me crazy, but I'm still not a believer of Keselowski's talent yet. Sure, he won at Talladega, but so did Regan Smith (say what you want, but Smith won that race last year).

He also ran well at Darlington, one of NASCAR's toughest tracks to tame, but I just don't think he's as good as everyone is saying he is.

The other possibility is the fact that he was in the Phoenix Racing No. 09 Saturday night, instead of a Hendrick Motorsports Chevy.


Surprising: Sam Hornish Jr. wins the Showdown

This is the same driver that seemed to hit everything last year and failed to keep his No. 77 Dodge in the top-35 in owner points.

I know what you are going to say: Hornish finished second last year and qualified as well.

Honestly, I thought it was a fluke last year, and counted him out.

Of course, drawing a starting spot near the front paid dividends, as the car out from seemed to pull away from the field effortlessly, and Hornish was never really challenged.

Not Surprising: Jimmie Johnson lead first 50 laps

If the first 50 laps of the All-Star race were a preview of what is to come Sunday night, we are in for a long and boring race.

Regardless of who it is, it seemed Saturday night that whoever was out front could simply pull away seemingly at will.

The only time a driver didn't do it, was in the final 10-lap segment, and let's be honest, everyone was running with the mentality: checkers or wreckers.

Let's hope for all NASCAR fan's sakes, that Sunday's race is more like the final 10 laps of Saturday night's All-Star event than the previous 90.


Onto the longest race of the season!

(I promise, I'm going to try and get back to normal and post more often this week! If David Phillips does decide to leave definitely, I might take over his Full of Bull Series that he puts out weekly.)