This race is truly the wild card race on the entire Sprint Cup schedule. No points are on the line, the rules are different, and the perspective is only about victory.
How can one race be so different but mean so much to simply take a checkered flag?
It's simple—the winner gets a check for $1 million. That will give any driver the incentive to run all out, full throttle and not care what happens.
The walls of the Charlotte Motor Speedway are painted yellow, and only 21 cars will be in the main event. So, allow me to dust off the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, the Sprint Showdown, and the Pennzoil Ultra Victory Challenge.
Let's start off with the challenge, which in essence is a burnout contest. This year however, during the course of each driver's 30-second burnout routine, there will be obstacles on the track.
Should a driver hit one of these obstacles in the course of their burnout, then they earn bonus points.
I have three favorites in that contest: Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, and Kyle Busch. Harvick won last year's event by literally holding the car in one spot and burning the tires down, while egging on the crowd for more. It was as if after the time was up, he wanted to do an encore.
Busch didn't even get to complete his run because he smacked the wall last year, destroying the nose of his car. I don't expect that this year cause he seems to have corrected the control of his burnouts, so he will be a contender.
Logano is in his first burnout contest, but I expect him to do well considering he has a lot of experience in the Nationwide Series burning down his Goodyears.
Should be exciting to watch.
Next, before the All-Star Race can begin, the Sprint Showdown will determine two of the three drivers that advance. This year's race is extremely stacked with top contenders.
Guys like Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, who all have been past race winners, are competing because they haven't won in 2009 or up to now in 2010. All of these guys are capable of getting into the show, and if you ask any of them, they want to earn their spot.
But, look at guys such as A.J. Allmendinger and Juan Pablo Montoya who have been extremely competitive but haven't closed the deal.
This race alone will be worth the price of admission to the track. And should be a great way to lead into the main event.
Now, it's time for the main event. Here are my favorites for the Sprint All-Star Race. There are no sleepers in this one simply because it's a stacked line-up of drivers, so all are considered favorites. These are just the ones who I have favored more than others.
Don't expect the new Kyle Busch to be racing in this event. Not going to happen, for this race, it will be Rowdy Busch behind the wheel.
There's no points on the line, so he will be driving like a madman, just as he was last year. I expect that side of him to come out one more time, and think it will get him to victory lane.
Watch the No. 18 M&M's Toyota to come home in a basket if it means getting a big paycheck.
He currently has the most wins in this race than any other driver on the circuit. But, I don't see him completing a clean sweep as he did in 1995. There's no chance of him to bring another "T-Rex" to the track. And, unless it rains heading into turn 1, don't expect him to pull a backup car from the hauler.
However, this is a track that Gordon really enjoys racing at. He has three wins in the All-Star race, another three in the Coca-Cola 600 and another two in the fall, 500-mile event.
I think the fire is back in Gordon, and he could unleash it on Saturday night.
I have to also consider last year's winner in this race because he looked incredible in the final 10 laps.
Stewart has been a bit sub-par so far this year, not really a slump, but the results have not been good for the No. 14 team. I think he can get things turned around at this point. Like last year, his win in the All-Star Race was what set forth an even better season for this team.
Who's to say it won't happen again?
Now here's a driver relieved to see this track. Kahne has been having a tough time all season, but this track seems to be so magical for the No. 9 team. Kahne has three wins at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and he won the All-Star Race in 2008.
Kahne has seen some great runs ruined by issues that were out of his control, but this year he does not have to worry about getting a fan vote to go racing.
I personally want to see this car back in victory lane because of Kahne leaving the team at the end of the season. An All-Star win would be a really nice gift for the entire organization.
It will be a night unlike any other on the Sprint Cup circuit. There's only 100 laps, but each segment will change the outlook on who could win this race.
The festivities will begin with the Pennzoil Ultra Victory Challenge during NASCAR Raceday on SPEED at 6:30 p.m. The Sprint Showdown will follow at 7 p.m.
The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race is set to go green at approximately 9 p.m. SPEED will have the coverage for this unique and exciting race.