NASCAR Preview

Last Updated Sunday, May 30, 2010 1:24 am, EDT

Sprint Showdown

Status: Final Charlotte Motor Speedway

Race Capsule

Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • What:

    Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, NC

  • When:

    May 22, 2010 7:30 pm EDT

  • Laps:


  • Track Length:

    1.5 miles

  • Race Length:

    60.00 miles

  • Purse:


Drivers to Watch

Carl Edwards Edwards, who has finally cracked the top 10 in points and is 281 out of the lead, never led a lap but finished fifth in last year's All-Star Race. Edwards will be in the Sprint Showdown and hopes to gain entry into the All-Star Race. "The Sprint Showdown and the All-Star race are very exciting races because there are no points involved," Edwards said. "The only things on the line are a trophy, money and bragging rights, so it's a real fun race in that respect. The other thing it does is gives you a chance to run a practice race for the Coke 600, which is very helpful. To be able to race two weekends back-to-back is useful. After a race you always wish you could go back and race there again next weekend and use what you learned."
Greg Biffle Biffle, who remains seventh in the standings, 187 points back, finished last in the 21-car field in last year's All-Star Race, crashing out after 71 laps. Biffle will compete in the Sprint Showdown before the All-Star Race and has to earn his way into the field or be voted into the starting lineup by the fans. "We were obviously planning to have a win by now so that we would not have to race our way into the All-Star race, but that hasn't happened so we will do everything we can this weekend to make sure we race our way in," Biffle said. "This is the first year since my rookie year that I haven't been in the All-Star Race (automatically), and that's a little disappointing. We've been pretty close to getting a win over the last year, but one thing or another just didn't go our way. We had a fast car last week at Dover at the end of the race, but it was just too late."
Clint Bowyer Bowyer's best finish in two starts in the All-Star Race is 12th. But he has not yet qualified for this year's event. "If you are lucky enough and your fans vote you in, that is awesome," said Bowyer. "But I would prefer to earn my way in (by finishing in the first two spots in the Sprint Showdown). I want to be in because I was supposed to be in it."
Jeff Burton Burton, who gained one spot in the standings and is 199 out of the lead, was 20th in the 21-car field last year, completing 85 laps before his engine blew up. Burton is another driver who has to race his way in through the Sprint Showdown race. "I certainly think that if you look at who is in that race, it's a lot of good teams and a lot of good drivers, and none of the guys that are in it are proud to be in it," Burton said. "They don't want to be in it. They want to be in the All-Star Race. Every one of those drivers and teams, as we are, are embarrassed about being in that race. But the rules are the rules and somebody's going to go out and find a way to win that race and transfer to the All-Star Race. If you are lucky enough and your fans vote you in, that is awesome. I want to be able to earn my way in. I want to be in it because I was supposed to be in it. I think the fan vote is a great thing. It is a great tool to get the fans involved; we have very, very loyal fans. Hopefully we can get ourselves in the race and if we can't, hopefully our fans will. That is all you can do. To campaign and ask them to do it, I think that is getting a little bit out there. I think that you have your fan base. To be able to campaign for everyone else's fan base to vote you in is a little bit pushing it."
Juan Pablo Montoya Montoya finished 14th in his only start in the All-Star Race. He finished a disappointing 12th in last year's Sprint Showdown. "We normally run pretty good there (Charlotte)," said Montoya. "The way I look at this weekend is it is a good practice for the week after (the 600). If we get in, good. If we don't, we have to really focus on the 600 and get some points for the Chase."
AJ Allmendinger Allmendinger raced his way into the 2008 All-Star Race by winning the Sprint Showdown. He will have to duplicate that victory on Saturday if he wants to qualify for this year's special event. "We are also campaigning pretty hard for the fans' vote," said Allmendinger. "The best way to get in would be by winning the Showdown, but it is also pretty neat to have the fans vote you in."
Martin Truex Jr. Truex has one top-10 finish in three starts in the All-Star Race, but he has yet to earn a spot in this year's event. "There is going to be a lot of really good cars in the Showdown," said Truex. "So we know we are going to have to have a fast car to finish in the top two (to qualify for the All-Star Race). But we feel good about our chances after the way we've run the last few weeks."
Paul Menard Menard has never qualified for the All-Star Race. "We are a much stronger team this year," said Menard. "So we feel we have a real shot at finishing in the top two in the Showdown and making the All-Star Race. That would be a big boost to the entire team."
David Ragan Ragan has not qualified for the All-Star Race. His best finish in three Showdown events is third. "Hopefully we'll race our way into the All-Star Challenge (by finishing first or second in the 40-lap event), but either way we'll take the track time and make it work to our advantage (a test for the 600)," said Ragan.