This time it’s checkers or wreckers.Ã‚Â There are no points to gain, not advancement to be earned, just everyone going for the win. This years prize is the largest purse ever for an All Star Race, so there’s $1 Million reasons to get to the checkered flag first.Ã‚Â Who will be the million dollar man tonight?
Kyle Busch had the fastest time in the most unique qualifying effort I have even seen in NASCAR.Ã‚Â After running 3 qualifying laps on the track they drivers were then required to slow the car down to pit road speed, come in to pit and make a mandatory 4 tire stop.Ã‚Â The #18 pit crew felt they had something to prove after entering the pit crew challenge as a top seed and getting knocked out in the second round.
”It’s a huge morale booster for the team. They know they’re No. 1,” Busch said of his crew. ”I know they’re No. 1.”
This is the second time that Busch has taken the pole for the All Star race but he has yet to win one. In Fact he’s failed to finish in four of his five starts with one top-10 finish.
‘”This race is a race where everybody says it suits Kyle Busch, and we all know why,” Busch said. “It’s because you can go fast, balls to the wall, and you either bring back the steering wheel or the check. Unfortunately, I’ve been highly successful at bringing back the steering wheel. Unfortunately, I have not brought back the check, so hopefully we can do that here [This weekend].”
Having wrecked out of this race in spectacular fashion a few times in the past Busch reflected on how it works when racing a teammate or his brother for the win in the All Star Race.Ã‚Â After wrecking with his brother in 2007 and again last year with his teammate Denny Hamlin where he was heard screaming over the radio, “Somebody better keep me away from Denny Hamlin after this race. I swear to God, I’m gonna kill that [expletive]. All his [expletive] fault. I had this race won! It was won!” he had this to say about that night.
“We talked about it that night and we talked about it that week after,” he said. “You think when you race a teammate or you race a brother, you kind of expect them to still be your teammate or your brother. But apparently, in the All-Star race, you’ve got no friends. So that’s it.”
Clint Bowyer (1:59.67), who will sit on theÃ‚Â outside of the front row for the 100-lap shootout watched as Busch laid down his time, knocking Bowyer off the pole near the end of the qualifying runs.
”That Kyle Busch is a pain in everybody’s butt, isn’t he?” said the ever smiling Bowyer. ”He’s pretty good.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr, who has been suffering from his longest career dry spell, is not on the entry list.Ã‚Â He is past his past winners allowance since more than 10 years have past since he won this race, but the fans are not about to let him down.Ã‚Â He is way out in front in the fan vote, which allows a driver to be selected to enter the field by the fans, but he wants to earn his way in regardless.Ã‚Â His plan is to win his qualifying race in the shootout.
“I would love to get into the All-Star outright,” Earnhardt said. “I’ve paid attention for the last several months, and I know how much the fans have put into voting for me. And should we win the fan vote, it would be because of everything that they did.
“But I think they would agree with me, that they would like to see me win and go in outright, and that’s what I’m going to try to do. I know there’s tough competition in that race, but we’re going in and we’re running hard and taking all the risks.”
“The opportunity for us to win the fan vote is definitely in the back of my mind, but I don’t think it will affect me at all in how I drive the race,” Earnhardt said. “If we’re sitting there in the second segment running fifth, I promise you that’s all I can get out of it at that time.”