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Going By the Numbers: Who’s the Worst of the Best at the All-Star Race?
Jamie McMurray is worst of active drivers who have at least two starts in the Sprint All-Star race with an average finish of about 16th. Not very sporty considering it’s usually a 20 car field. Maybe.

Going By the Numbers: Who’s the Worst of the Best at the All-Star Race?

This weekend marks the much-hallowed tradition in sports wherein leagues celebrate their so-called best of the best by letting them play in an exhibition event, the spoils of which are anywhere from home-field advantage to a nice wad of cash.

So to honor the running of the Sprint All-Star Race, let’s talk about the worst of the best.

If one makes it into the Sprint All-Star Race, chances are they’re deemed one of theNASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ top drivers. That’s a fair assumption to make, of course; admission generally requires being pretty good at your job, if only for one race, as was the case with David Ragan and his 2013 win that earned him a slot in the event.

Even then, the next two spots after the initial 19 are going to be determined by the top two finishers in the Sprint Showdown — which, again, isn’t an easy feat and requires the competitors to at least be worth something talent-wise. It’s the final spot, reserved for the Showdown driver voted in by the fans, that tends to be a bit ambiguous — but popularity is popularity.

Still, even in a race that celebrates the sport’s best, someone has to finish last. Someone will finish last. It could be due to a mechanical failure or accident; the All-Star Race isn’t known for being light on action, after all. There’s also the possibility of finishing down there because, hey, everyone else just beat them. Always a fun distinction, right? “Hey, babe, I was in the NASCAR all-star race this year.” “Oh? Where’d you finish?” “Well, last, bu-WAITCOME BACK….”

In that case, poor Steve Park.

In terms of drivers who have started multiple all-star races, Park has been the worst. Over three starts in the event, he has an average finish of 18th, actually finishing only one of those races. That’s paired with an average finish of 19th, which is also pretty horrible.

Jamie McMurray is worst of active drivers who have at least two starts in the Sprint All-Star race with an average finish of about 16th. Not very sporty considering it’s usually a 20 car field. Maybe.

Jamie McMurray is worst of active drivers who have at least two starts in the Sprint All-Star race with an average finish of about 16th. Not very sporty considering it’s usually a 20 car field. Maybe.

He’s nearly equaled in that regard by Derrike Cope. The 1990 Daytona 500 champion also has an average finish of 18th, but in just two races versus three. The fact that he finished both races however, makes things a bit worse; it means that he didn’t really beat a whole lot of drivers on his way to his overall finish.

Other struggling drivers in this race include one that’s racing Saturday night: Jamie McMurray.

The driver of Ganassi’s No. 1 Chevrolet will race in the Sprint All-Star Race for the eighth time this weekend, and in his previous seven tries, he’s only managed two top-10 finishes. Taking into account the rest, he’s looking at an average finish of 15.9, the worst average for a driver with more than three starts in the event.

Clint Bowyer hasn’t fared much better. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver, who isn’t even in the race at this moment, but is a favorite to win the Sprint Showdown by virtue of being one of the best drivers in the lineup, hasn’t finished inside the top 10 in any of his five starts, with an average finish of 15.6.

Danica Patrick didn’t fare so well in her All-Star appearance by way of the Fan Vote last year. After a seventh-place showing at Kansas Speedway, might she be able to improve on that? Not like it could get any worse, but still….

Danica Patrick didn’t fare so well in her All-Star appearance by way of the Fan Vote last year. After a seventh-place showing at Kansas Speedway, might she be able to improve on that? Not like it could get any worse, but still….

An additional shout-out should go to Greg Biffle, who’s hit the top 5 twice and has three top 10s but a plethora of bad finishes, too. In all, he brings an average finish of 13.5 into the race, which puts him a little below middle-of-the-road.

Conversely, Tim Richmond’s tops of all drivers. Despite never winning, he finished in the top 5 for both of his two all-star races, for an average of fourth. Joey Logano’s close behind at a 4.3, also as the top driver among those who are still active and starting on Saturday.

But including all drivers who’ve ever run the Sprint All-Star Race, including those who’ve only started it once, who’s been the worst of all time?

It’s your top vote-getter in the fan vote last year, Danica Patrick. In a performance that does not do the stigma surrounding said fan vote much justice, Patrick finished all the way back in 20th in 2013, putting her at the absolute bottom of the list.

But hey — when she inevitably gains admittance into the race via the fan vote again, maybe she can blow past Steve Park in the overall standings.

Poor guy.

About Kevin Rutherford

Kevin Rutherford
An editor for the Frontstretch since 2013, Kevin keeps our writing staff in check while penning a weekly column of his own, Going By The Numbers (Thursdays). He balances his love of cars driving in circles with a similar passion for music, as the news editor of CBS Radio's Radio.com and a former contributing editor at Billboard. A New York City transplant by way of Ohio, Kevin lives in Brooklyn with his fiancée.