NASCAR’s All-Star weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway

Published 12:36 pm Friday, May 19, 2006

By Staff
NASCAR fans, I think we might be in the middle of the best five weeks of the racing season.
Four night races in five weeks should feed every race fan's appetite and last Saturday we were served up a hot dish full of Darlington Speedway. Greg Biffle dominated most of the race to capture his first win of the year after many weeks of leading races and having victory ripped away with blown engines or flat tires. It was hard to tell exactly how good the racing action really was though as the TV broadcast only paid attention to the cars running up front. That is a shame because not everyone is a fan of Rousch Racing or Hendrick Motorsports drivers. The track “Too Tough To Tame” had a bark worse than its bite as we didn't see as many accidents or tire issues as we did when the race was run during the daytime.
This Saturday Lowe's Motor Speedway (I still call it Charlotte Motor Speedway) will play host to the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge. A very unique race that is by invitation only, reserved for the winners of all races run during the past year, past Cup Championship winners, or past All-Star race winners.
Now that doesn't mean the other teams will be back home watching the race on the tube, they will be at the track hoping to win The Nextel Open. This is a heat race very similar to the bullrings all over the country where the drivers cut their teeth. As an added twist one lucky driver will be voted into the fracas by the fans. You can find out how to vote for your favorite driver at
The best part about this three segment race is that there are no points to win just money, a million dollars to the winner. For some reason this brings out the best, and the worst of the drivers. Patience and politeness will not be part of the driver's vocabulary, replaced by pride and prestige. You see the winner of this event not only gets a million bucks; they get invited to this event every year until they no longer race in NASCAR's top series.
Ryan Newman is one of those past winners, taking the prize in 2002, and is riding a wave of momentum into this event.
Last week the Rocket Man finished a very impressive sixth at Darlington and could very well be back to where his fans have become used to seeing him, winning races.
David Stremme will have to win the Nextel Open on Saturday in order to make it into the main event as this is his rookie year and has not won a race in the premier series. He had his best ever qualifying effort starting fourth at Darlington but he struggled a bit during the race and was relegated to a 25th place finish.
Tony Raines is in the same boat as Stremme and must also race his way into the Challenge. Tony finished a respectable 20th last week after a miserable qualifying effort saw him start dead last on the field.
This race is definitely the most unique one we will see this year filled with glamour, glitz, and special paint schemes.
If you can't watch it live on Saturday be sure to program your VCR, DVR, or Tivo because it is going to be a riot.