Entering this very weird All-Star Race, I certainly wasn’t expecting to have the final winner make his way into the field just three days prior. But, have to admit, that final restart that saw Cole Custer take a gamble at Kentucky and ride that horse all the way to the front with a half a lap left was definitely well worth it.
We have all seen the underdog at one point somehow make it to the front and have a strong showing at the Kentucky Derby, hence my ride that horse line, so seeing the underdog come from out of the blue to win definitely was one great way to start the ride to Bristol.
That being said, when the race goes green everything is going to look different.
The All-Star Race, for the first time in over two decades, is not in it’s usual home. But, I do thing being at a track like Bristol may give this race a little bit of life that it has been lacking. The last time this race had some excitement is when the cars actually had restrictor plates on the cars for a 1.5-mile track, and it made for some very exciting racing that led to a victory for Kevin Harvick.
What I think will make this race even more odd is the cars themselves.
We have become so accustomed to seeing numbers in one spot, and sponsors in another, when they move it just is weird. At the same time, we don’t complain about it when we watch our local dirt tracks. If you look at some of the cars that are on the track slinging dirt to the wall and riding the cushion, you see numbers moved a bit more to the rear of the door, or sometimes even behind the rear tire. So why some people were complaining about the move is a bit ridiculous to me. You still see the number, and it’s not like we are unfamiliar with the driver-number combinations at this point.
It’s an experiment, just like many things in this race tend to be.
What is exciting is the fact that NASCAR listened to an idea on Twitter in using some of that short track ideology, and letting the drivers make a choice for the restart, and not just the leader. The “Choose Rule” could ultimately be the biggest deciding factor for the night in winning $1 million.
Personally, this rule was long overdue and should have been used at a few of these races, potentially could have changed the winner.
But, the push to actually have the rule implemented for this race is quite a game changer.
The fact that the guy that can start last in the final stage could have all the cars in front choose one lane, and he choose the other, and it potentially cause him to have the best restart and steal away the grand prize.
Laps at this place blast by quicker than a hiccup, but the prestige leading into it has not been the same. There’s no wild qualifying run that includes the pit crew doing a four-tire stop, although seeing a car blast down the pit road at Bristol going full speed would be quite a sight to see. However, seeing potentially 30,000 fans at the track is definitely a much more welcome sight than anything we’ve seen since this pandemic began. Sure, seeing a few fans at Homestead, and just a few more at Talladega were one thing.
This is going to feel a bit more normal to these drivers, especially to the one that takes the victory. Now whether those will be cheers or boos from the crowd is to be determined, but it certainly is a welcome change to the last several weeks.
Let’s get ready for yet another mid-week race, and see who takes home the biggest prize of the season so far.