It is All-Star event time at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. No points are awards tonight, but the winner of the main event gets one million bucks. For the 2007 edition new rules are in place. To get into the main event you have to win in the 2006 or 2007 season, be a past cup champ, or past winner of this event.
It’s a big deal for me says Denny Hamlin who is in his fist All-Star race. He also said he did not think it was going to be in the race so soon.
“Crown Royal car drives good,” said Jamie McMurray.
“Lot of fast guys, lot of fast cars,” said Carl Edwards.
I think we have a really good chance says Juan Pablo Montoya on advancing to the main event.
The NEXTEL Open includes two 20 lap segments with five laps of caution between the segments. During the caution time drivers can come in for a pit stop. In the second session caution laps do not count toward green flag laps. The top two drivers move into the main event. One driver will also get in due to a fan vote, but he has to be on the lead lap. On the poll for this event is Carl Edwards and 32 drivers are in the NEXTEL Open this year.
It did not take even until turn two before a major wreck occurs. Juan Pablo Montoya loses it and gets together with David Gilliland. Also getting involved in this wreck is A.J. Allmendinger, Joe Nemechek, Scott Riggs, Paul Menard, and Jon Wood. “Juan Pablo Montoya, what a dumb butt!,” says Joe Nemechek. “Had a great car,” said David Gilliland. He also stated that the 42(Juan Pablo Montoya) car into him.
“Nothing, I got really loose,” said Juan.
Carl Edwards starts green flag racing again in the lead at lap eight. A couple more laps go by and then Mike Bliss spins out and in the end collects Boris Said. Mike stated that he thought he could run this car next week, but it is not going anywhere. “I’m alright,” said Said. He stated he was sad for Huddle House.
On lap 15 the green flag drop again and Carl gets a great restart. After a couple of green flag laps Elliott Sadler spins out. “Just wasn’t meant to be tonight,” said Elliott.
This left Carl as the leader for all 20 laps in the first segment of the race with David Ragan in second. One quarter of the cars in the NEXTEL Open are done for the night.
The leaders of the race, the front 15, decide to stay out due to all those caution flag laps while drivers in the back come in for tires and fuel.
The green flag drops for the second cession and David Ragan spins out. Reed Sorenson gets some damage to his car. “Just did not have any air on the right side,” said David.
At the start of the green flag racing again Dave Blaney moves up into the second place spot. Carl quickly builds a 1 second plus lead as Martin Truex Jr. passes Blaney for second.
With five laps to go Johnny Sauter is making a major move getting real close to Martin Truex Jr. With three laps to go both Truex Jr, and Sauter get real close to Edwards. With two laps left some three wide racing boots Edwards to third place with Martin Truex Jr, in the lead. Sauter on the final lap tries to make a pass for the lead of the race, but could not do it.
“Tightest racecar I ever had,” said Carl Edwards.
“Awesome race car,” said Truex Jr.
The All-Star Main Event up next has four 20 laps segments. In between the first and third segment five laps of caution are going to run. In between the second and third segment is a 10-minute break where cars can make some changes, but do not lose track position. Only green flag laps our going to count in the final segment. Also between the third and fourth segment all cars must come down pit road and must do at least a stop-and-go type pit stop. The three cars moving on to the main event are Martin Truex Jr., Johnny Sauter, and the fan vote winner Kenny Wallace.
“Got to have the car handling right,” said Matt Kenseth on winning the main event.
“Pretty excited about my car,” said Jeff Burton.
“We got a good car,” said Mark Martin. Stated that he liked the older format with three segments in it, but the NEXTEL Open had a lot of action in it.
Matt Kenseth has the poll for the first segment of this event. The green flag drops and Kenseth quickly jumps to around a 1 second lead while Kurt Busch drops to the back of the field. With laps to go Kenseth is still in the lead with Jimmy Johnson in second place. With a few laps to go in the first segment Jeff Gordon moved into second place.
Kyle Busch And Mark Martin are the only cars to stay out while all the other cars pit. Dale Jr. goes to the back for coming in to fast into pit road while Greg Biffle goes to back for exiting pit road too fast.
Kyle Busch starts segment two as the leader of the race with Mark Martin in second. Kevin Harvick quickly moves into second after the green flag drops. 5 laps into this segment and Kyle has a 1 second plus lead. 10 laps in and it is over 2 seconds.
With seven laps to go Jeff Gordon passes Kevin Harvick and moves into second place, but is over 2.5 seconds behind the leader. Gordon could not cut into the lead much at all as Kyle Busch cruises to win of the second segment. He picks up 75 grand for winning the second segment.
All the cars head to the pits for the halftime break. During the break Dale Jr. said he has to get his car turning right while Kyle Busch says that he is happy about his racecar. Jeff Gordon states there is not a lot of grip out on the racetrack.
The green flag drops for the third segment and in the back of the field Bobby Labonte spins into the turn four wall. “Just overdrove it,” said Bobby.
Matt Kenseth leads as the green flag drops with Kevin Harvick in second. With three laps to go Gordon passes Harvick for second. Gordon closes on the leader but did not have enough time to get the lead at the end of the third segment.
Matt Kenseth does nothing with his car and keeps the lead of the race, but winds up with a speeding penalty and goes to back. Same thing happens to Casey Mears and Greg Biffle. This leaves Jeff Gordon in the lead of the race.
Harvick quickly takes the lead of the race with some three wide racing that sends Gordon back into fifth. Three laps in Kyle Busch takes out Kurt Busch. Kurt states the he was making a clean pass on the 31(Jeff Burton) car.
The green flag drops and Jeff Gordon goes up high with a tire going down and drops to the back of the field. In the back Denny Hamlin and Casey Mears crash out. “I don’t know,” said Denny on what happened about this wreck. “I just got loose under Denny,” said Casey Mears.
At the drop of the green flag Kevin Harvick leads with Jeff Burton in second. Jimmy Johnson quickly moves into second. With 10 laps go Mark Martin starts to make it a three way race for the lead. With five laps to go the top three have not changed spots and with only a couple laps to go Kevin Harvick busted open just enough of a lead to win the race.
Delana Harvick said that she promised Kevin Harvick last night that he was going to win the race last night.
“Car was really good all night,” said Kevin Harvick. He also stated that he has a one million reason to be happy about winning this race.
”It was a good race,” said Jimmy Johnson.
“I did everything I could,” said Mark Martin who finished in third.
Jeff Burton said that he was never really fast as the top two or three guys. He finished in fourth.
“Just wanted to finish the race tonight,” said Tony Stewart. He also stated that he has not finished the past few All-Star events.