The NASCAR Sprint Showdown race capped off the first of two speed weeks in Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday night. Once again at Charlotte Motor Speedway both the fans at home and at the track were not disappointed.
First, the winners.
Martin Truex, Jr.
Martin Truex, Jr's. ad campaign to get voted into the All-Star race was meager at best. His best way in was to at least finish second in the Showdown. Truex did one better and flexed some Toyota horsepower to power pass Greg Biffle in the final laps and win the race.
Truex stuck to his team’s strategy. Even when he had secured a top two spot when Jeff Burton was unable to mount a final charge, Truex was hungry for more.
This win was his first for Michael Waltrip Racing in 2010.
At first, Biffle's strategy had them a sitting duck as the first caution waved prior to lap 20.
Biffle and David Ragan stayed out while the leaders pit. You would have thought Biffle and his team were sitting ducks with older tires; instead, while the field battled behind them, they pulled away and Biffle made the All-Star race with a second place finish.
The no tires strategy at first was a bad call, but track position was so important that to pit on the next lap after everyone else had pitted would have been a bigger mistake.
It was interesting to listen to Carl Edwards' radio which is what I did in the second 20-lap feature.
Throughout the laps, it was evident that Edwards didn’t have the car he needed to race his way in, but his feedback gave away that he won the coveted fan vote.
Edwards' outing was not spectacular, but he won the fan vote, which proved that fans still love “Cousin Carl” even if he doesn’t contend for wins.
Juan Pablo Montoya
Going into the race, Juan Pablo Montoya was the favorite to win—he had a fast race car all weekend long.
Mother Nature had other ideas when rain forced the cancellation of the already in-progress qualifying on Friday night and Montoya was forced to start deep in the pack.
He was making his way to the front when he and Regan Smith began racing each other hard.
Montoya went up the racetrack and Regan got into him. Montoya suffered heavy damage and watched his All-Star hopes disappear.
Both drivers blamed each other for the incident, but in reality it was just two hard nose racers battling for a spot.
He finished 27th.
Smith had a very good racecar on Saturday night.
In fact, he had a very fast racecar as soon as the green flag waved.
Smith was moving forward and running with the leaders when he and Montoya began battling for position. The two made contact, sending both into the wall. He finished 26th.
It was a very strong showing for Smith, even though he did not make the All-Star race. We shouldn’t be very surprised—he has had decent cars each week at the track without the luck to show for it.
I think if they come back with the same setup this team could be one to watch on Sunday night.
Coming up next: the All-Star race winners and losers.