The warriors of NASCAR returned home this weekend to find out who would be named a motorsports All-Star. Despite a tough battle in both Friday night’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200 and Saturday night’s All-Star race, Rowdy Busch would come home the reigning king of Charlotte Motor Speedway.
North Carolina Education Lottery 200
Despite his teammate Christopher Bell picking up his second pole win in a row, the young driver would go a lap down after cutting a left-rear tire on lap three of this race. Following the 22-year-old driver’s unfortunate luck, both NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points leader Johnny Sauter and race winner Kyle Busch would find their stride.
Although Busch would have to fend off Sauter for each stage win as well as the victory, he easily led 90 of the 134 laps of this race. Along with Sauter, Busch even had to hold his young teammate, Bell, after he regained the lead lap as the “lucky dog” on lap 65 and moved his way to the front of front of the field. While running second, behind Busch, the caution flag flew for the final time after the No. 44 of Matt Mills spun on track. This caution set-up a three-lap run to the finish between Sauter, Bell and Busch.
Sauter, who extended his series lead to 15 points over Bell, got the better of the young Toyota driver on the restart and rolled home in second, behind Busch, with Bell in third.
“It was fun,” said Busch, who collected his 173rd NASCAR national touring series win. “We had a really fast Cessna Tundra tonight. It was a challenge there in the middle part of the race, but we got through it and pulled off the win.”
NASCAR All-Star Race
After his dominating performance on Friday, Rowdy Busch would pick up a $1 million race win following Saturday night’s 13th Annual NASCAR All-Star race. With a new race format, as well as the use of prime and faster short-run option tires, Busch would also have to overcome a hard charging All-Star pole winner and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points leader, Kyle Larson, for the win.
After winning the first three 20-lap stages of this race, Larson was first onto pit road during the final break. A small glitch during the stop cost him three positions in the pits, and with Keselowski staying out because he had no fresh tires available, Larson restarted fifth with little chance to get to the front in the final 10-lap stage.
With 10 laps left in the final restart of this race, Busch powered his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to the inside of Brad Keselowski’s No. 2 Team Penske Ford as the field raced their way into Turn 1 on the final restart. After clearing both Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson, Busch would gain the race lead and eventual win in clean air.
“We’ve never won at Charlotte in a Monster Energy Cup car, and we finally achieved that goal tonight,” Busch said. “I won the All-Star Race. I won a million bucks. There’s reason to celebrate, and reason to celebrate big.”
While Busch had a reason to celebrate, many fans and media say that this was the least entertaining All Star Race ever. In fact, writers at Yahoo Sports are saying that “the only All-Star Race entertainment was its absurdity.”
So, RacingJunk readers, how does this race return to its former glory? Stay tuned as we bring you more from the world of NASCAR.