History was made in more than one way at NASCAR's 2013 Sprint All-Star Race.
A unique event, the All-Star race consisted of five separate segments—four 20-lap mini-races, so to speak, and one final 10-lap sprint. The racers' averages throughout the first four segments determined the final order for the 10-lap sprint.
Jimmie Johnson won the exhibition race in exciting fashion, stealing the victory from Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne in the final laps of the race with a phenomenal surge after the final restart.
Both Busch brothers had dominated the race until the final 10 laps, averaging second-place finishes through the first four segments, according to NASCAR on Speed:
But Johnson's late charge shook up the leaderboard for good.
Here is a look at the final standings from Saturday's event:
|7||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||88|
|Other Notable Results|
Here were the biggest stories from Saturday's All-Star race.
Jimmie Johnson Wins Fourth All-Star Race
Johnson's victory on Saturday was his fourth All-Star win, which is the most by any racer in the history of the event (h/t AP, via ESPN.com).
NASCAR on Speed inferred that he has the event's format down to perfection:
After watching him manage the race with such precision and skill, it's hard to argue against Johnson being the greatest NASCAR driver in the world right now.
Johnson is No. 1 in the Sprint Cup standings right now, and he's finished the season at the top spot in five of the last seven years. He's cementing himself as the premier racer on the Sprint Cup Tour, and after a couple of disappointing seasons in 2011-2012 he seems to be better than ever.
Danica Patrick Becomes the First Woman to Compete in the All-Star Race
Patrick is a huge star on the NASCAR circuit, and she has attracted a multitude of fans over the years.
Her rise to the pinnacle of American racing hasn't come easily—Patrick has been battering down barriers as a female racer in a man's world the entire way.
Like other major stars, Patrick's mere presence in a race inevitably draws bigger television numbers. There's a good chance many of the fans tuning in to see her race are women who would never have been inclined to watch before.
In fact, Monica Evans of Fox 4 in Kansas City recently covered the growing trend of female racers, pit-crew members and fans. She spoke with NASCAR's Jennifer Jo Cobb:
Cobb says women behind the wheel and working in the pit is becoming more common place and so are the growing number of NASCAR’s female fans...Attracting more women to racing is something NASCAR has embraced and has reported the once male dominated sport currently has a 60 percent male to 40 percent female fan base.
Patrick's inclusion into this year's All-Star race is proof of her incredible fanbase.
It's also proof that NASCAR is committed to give its fans what they want to see. Patrick is a star, and she earned her spot in the race just as much as any other.
Brad Keselowski's Early Exit
Last year's Sprint Cup winner Keselowski was unceremoniously grounded in Lap 3 with a busted transmission, as NASCAR on Speed reported:
So much effort and planning goes into each and every race. Though the All-Star race is only an exhibition, it means just as much—if not more—to these professionals as any other race.
Keselowski handled his misfortune with as much grace as can be expected, but it was a tough blow, to be sure. Not only did Keselowski potentially miss out on a massive pay day, but he also missed out on an opportunity to test himself against all the best drivers on NASCAR.
All because of a freak mechanical malfunction.
Sometimes, the breaks just don't fall your way.
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