The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ran its All-Star race on Saturday. Kevin Harvick has been the most dominant driver this season and kept that momentum going into the All-Star race by winning three of the four stages, including the final one to earn the victory. The annual exhibition race gave drivers a chance to make an impact without having the fear of having a bad points day.
It didn’t come to much of a surprise to see that Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., and Kyle Busch kept it up front much like they have done all year long but some surprises made their way up through the field like Daniel Suarez, Ryan Newman, and others.
Being as this weekend’s race was an exhibition and a new rule package, we based our power ranking solely off of this race.
Harvick was able to secure his second All-Star victory, after his first came in 2007. Harvick also earned Stewart Haas Racing it’s the second victory in the annual exhibition race. All-in-all, Harvick still couldn’t stop his season of dominance even without points up for grabs.
Suarez came very close to earning the million-dollar bonus for team owner Joe Gibbs for the second straight season after teammate Kyle Busch earned the All-Star victory last year.
He also made a run at being the first driver since Kasey Kahne to win the main event after transferring into the race from The Open.
Suarez showed a strong hand on Saturday of what we could be seeing in the future. Instead, he wound up second, behind a very fast Harvick.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) May 20, 2018
3. Kyle Busch
Busch had a strong car on Saturday, but was involved in a multi-car wreck towards the end of the race and was unable to compete for the win in the closing laps. After continuous trips to pit road, Busch really had no chance of rebounding to take his second straight All-Star race victory.
Before the crash, he was still able to lead 19 laps, more than any other drive in the field except Harvick.
The real story of the weekend for Busch came when he failed to tally his 51st victory on Friday night during the truck series race. Busch dropped a memorable post-race speech that showed just how irritated he was. Don’t take our word for it though … see for yourself below.
"My pit crew did absolutely nothing to help me out tonight. My truck drove like $#!&."- Kyle Busch pic.twitter.com/RfVLAhpGtI
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 19, 2018
Truex led the third most laps of the field on Saturday with 17. Truex was the driver who got spun that ultimately set up for the big one in turns three and four. He dropped to 17th but had something to pick him up on Monday.
Truex went from Charlotte, NC to Washington D.C. to be honored by the President of the United States for his championship from 2017. President Donald Trump mentioned how Truex and his team were the team to beat last season along with pointing out that NASCAR drivers stand for the National Anthem, referencing some of the protests going on in other major sports in the U.S.
"One thing I know about NASCAR, they do indeed stand for the playing of the national anthem," President Trump says at NASCAR event at the White House. pic.twitter.com/ZfUk8i9Byx
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 21, 2018
5. Denny Hamlin
Hamlin was the real help to Daniel Suarez on the second-place finish, pushing his teammate on the final restart, and he was still able to put a lock on fourth place. Hamlin earned his best finish in the annual exhibition race since his victory in the event in 2015.
It was only his fourth top-five finish in the event.
— Joe Gibbs Racing (@JoeGibbsRacing) May 20, 2018
6. Kyle Larson
Kyle Larson had a real shot at winning the race on Saturday, but when Joey Logano retaliated against him following contact with the outside wall, he went spinning through the grass. Larson was still able to rebound and finish seventh, but was far from the million-dollar prize.
This was the first year that Larson had made the All-Star Race by virtue of winning a race in the previous season.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) May 20, 2018
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. continued his strong season on Saturday, leading five laps in the race. Earning two top-fives and sitting 16th in points so far this season, Stenhouse could be able to sneak his way into the playoffs by points should Kevin Harvick steal more victories.
Points weren’t on the line for this race, but he was still able to pull some momentum into Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, a race in which the No. 17 won in 2000 with Matt Kenseth.
P11 for @StenhouseJr in All Star Race
— No. 17 Team (@17RoushTeam) May 20, 2018
The All-Star Race still eludes the No. 2 team, and on Saturday a big one kept that elusive win away from him. Keselowski still led three laps, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter if you leave without the million dollars.
I think we found a great package for the All-Star race only. Appreciate all those that made it happen. https://t.co/EPgZv8tIyM
— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) May 20, 2018
9. Joey Logano
Logano got into the All-Star Race via his victory at Richmond last season (and his win at Talladega earlier this season would have put him in as well) — even though the race didn’t count towards his playoff bid after failing post-race inspection.
Logano came pretty close to earning his second million dollars and even was in contention at the end, but had to settle for third at the end of the night.
You’ve got to go for it when there is nothing to lose except the bag of cash. We pushed as hard as we could at the end just couldn’t get clear. Hope the fans enjoyed the show tonight.
— Joey Logano (@joeylogano) May 20, 2018
A.J. Allmendinger just straight-up showed-up out of nowhere. Allmendinger kept his car intact during The Open and ended up picking up the victory for the third time of his career, allowing him to transfer into the main event. He was able to compete against some of those drivers who have been up front all year long and gave them a run for the money.
If you were wondering what I found earlier…Here it is!! #catdaddy is #pawesome!! @AJDinger @JTGRacing #MonsterEnergyOpen #WinnerWinner #catfooddinner #winwithclicklist @kroger #GO47 pic.twitter.com/ltYMab6c5y
— Mr. Tickles (@tickles_thecat) May 22, 2018
About the author
His favorite tracks on the circuit include Barber Motorsports Park, Iowa Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, and Bristol Motor Speedway.
During the season, Christian also spends time as a photographer with multiple other outlets shooting Monster Energy AMA Supercross, Minor League & Major League Baseball, and NCAA Football.
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