The All-Star Race Report
The annual NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race featured five race segments this year for a total of 90 laps. The first four segments were 20 laps each with a 10-lap sprint to the finish. Under the rules for this year’s race teams would come down pit road prior to the final 10-lap sprint in order of their average finish in the first four segments of the race. How they came off pit road would determine how they would line up for the final restart.
Kyle Busch began the night from the third position in his No. 18 Snicker Bites Toyota and proved to have one of the fastest cars on the track. He would run second to his brother Kurt on the opening 20-lap segment but then led the field for both the second and third segments. The fourth segment proved a bit more eventful however as Busch came down pit road for four fresh tires while several other teams took only two. The Snickers Bites Camry would restart the fourth segment in the fourth position and Busch would get bumped around on the restart with a bump from behind courtesy of the 22 car that then sent Busch into the side of the 39 car. Fortunately there was no significant damage and Busch was able to rally to finish fourth in the segment which tied his brother for an average best finish in each segment of second. Kyle would come down pit road in second since his brother had the better finish in the fourth segment which proved to be the tiebreaker. The No. 18 Toyota would come back out third for the final restart of the night and the 10-lap dash to the finish. Unfortunately with so many hungry teams fighting for the win, Busch would once again get contact on the restart losing a couple positions. He would drive back up to third at the finish.
Denny Hamlin started his No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota in seventh position and battled with the handle on his car back in traffic. Hamlin was fairly consistent while running the top ten for much of the night as he would complete the opening segment in ninth and then run seventh and eighth in the second and third segments respectively. The fourth segment was not as good however as he dropped back to finish it in 14th unsure if there might be an issue in the engine. He would come down pit road prior to the final 10-lap segment in ninth and his FedEx Crew would give him two more spots allowing him to restart in seventh. Hamlin would manage to pick up an additional spot on the final laps to finish sixth.
Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Home Depot Husky in 16th and was able to crack the top ten in the opening segment but his car proved a bit tough to handle for most of the night. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff and The Home Depot Husky team would make adjustments to help his Camry turn better and the improvement was shown through results as Kenseth managed to come down pit road in 13th prior to the final 10-lap segment. The No. 20 team put together a fast stop which allowed Kenseth to restart 10th on the final green flag and with an improved car he was able to earn a ninth-place finish in the race.
Jimmie Johnson would win his record-setting fourth NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Kyle Busch would tie his brother Kurt for most laps led on the night with 29 as each won two of the first four segments. There were seven cautions for 17 laps including a 41 minute red flag stoppage for rain on lap nine.
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