Jamie McMurray raced his way to $1 million in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star race.
Jamie McMurray was tough to beat in the last ten laps of the Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. McMurray’s crew laid down a fast, mandatory and final pit stop and he was second out of the pits prior to the last segment. Carl Edwards was the leader at the start and he and McMurray had a side-by-side battle for the lead for about a lap-and-a-half. McMurray finally powered to the front and set sail. Kevin Harvick was able to close in to a .78 deficit but that’s as good as he could do.
McMurray was a $1 million winner.
How does the Sprint All-Star race work?
To qualify to be in the race, a driver must have won in the previous season and the beginning of the current season. Also, a driver must have been a winner in the past ten events and previous Sprint Cup Champion. Those who won’t qualify under those terms are placed into the Sprint Showdown race and the winner and the second place finisher go on to the All-Star race to complete the field. Clint Bowyer won the Sprint Showdown Friday night with AJ Allmendinger in second. In addition, the winner of the fan vote would also get to race in the All-Star event and this year’s winner was Josh Wise.
The race is broken up into four 20-lap segments with a last ten-lap shootout to determine the winner of $1 million.
Here’s how it played out:
The first 20-lap segment found Kyle Busch as the winner and then he got into trouble in the second 20-lap segment. On lap 7 of the segment (or 27th lap overall), Busch tapped Bowyer as they battled for position. Bowyer got sideways and Busch and Bowyer bumped again which sent Busch into a spin. Busch travelled down the track and Joey Logano attempted to avoid him, but plowed into the left front of Busch’s car which ended the night for both drivers.
On the restart lap, AJ Allmendinger found some trouble. Greg Biffle was running high and attempted to get by Brian Vickers but made contact with Vickers which caused contact with Allmendinger. Allmendinger slid off the track and into an infield wall. Allmendinger was done for the night.
Kasey Kahne was able to power through and won the second segment as well as the third segment.
During the first lap in the fourth 20-lap segment, Jeff Gordon had a mechanical issue and checked up. Martin Truex, Jr. got into the back of Gordon which sent them up the race track and collected Greg Biffle. Those three cars would be out of the race. Gordon’s car caught fire but it quickly went out while still on the track and he was not hurt.
Kasey Kahne who had won the prior two segments hit the wall halfway through segment four and found it again on the last lap. His crew made repairs to his car, but he wouldn’t rebound.
Kevin Harvick won the last segment and McMurray was right behind him.
The last pit stops were critical and Carl Edwards’ team had a stellar stop which put him in the lead off of pit road with McMurray trailing. However, McMurray would prove that he was the man to beat as he grabbed the lead from Edwards after a good side-by-side battle for a lap-and-a-half and won the race.
The Sprint All-Star race is a great lead into one of the longest and greatest NASCAR races of the year – the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. That 400-lap race will be Sunday, May 25 at 6 p.m. ET. A complete synopsis will be available on this Behind the Wheel column.