Everything you need to know for Saturday’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte

1 Comment

Winning Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race won’t earn drivers a ticket to this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup or even any championship points.

But a $1 million winner’s prize and bragging rights at Charlotte Motor Speedway – the home track for many in the stock car industry – should ensure that they’ll be plenty motivated to go all-out.

19 drivers are already set for the All-Star Race, with three more coming through Friday’s Sprint Showdown (the top two finishers transfer to the All-Star) and a fan vote.

Qualifying consists of a three-lap run for each driver that must feature a four-tire stop; pit road speed limits will not be in effect. As for the main event, it will be made up of five segments – the first four running for 20 laps each, and the final one running for 10 laps.

Courtesy of NASCAR’s public relations and statistics teams, here’s all the notes and numbers to keep in mind going into the weekend.


Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford)
· Two top fives, three top 10s
· Average finish of 13.5
· Average Running Position of 10.5, 11th-best
· Driver Rating of 78.4, 12th-best
· 34 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
· 211 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 179.280 mph, ninth-fastest
· 581 Laps in the Top 15 (69.2%), 10th-most
· 183 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), 11th-most

Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet)
· One win, five top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 10.3
· Average Running Position of 8.7, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 86.4, fifth-best
· 48 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· 267 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 179.310 mph, seventh-fastest
· 676 Laps in the Top 15 (80.5%), fifth-most
· 246 Quality Passes, sixth-most

Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota)
· Three top fives, four top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 11.3
· Series-best Average Running Position of 6.5
· Series-best Driver Rating of 110.3
· 80 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 180.575 mph
· 639 Laps in the Top 15 (85.2%), seventh-most

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Fastenal Ford)
· One win, three top fives, five top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 11.1
· Average Running Position of 10.4, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 82.8, sixth-best
· 59 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 179.187 mph, 10th-fastest
· 586 Laps in the Top 15 (77.1%), eighth-most
· 178 Quality Passes, 12th-most

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet)
· Three wins, six top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 9.7
· Average Running Position of 8.8, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 81.6, eighth-best
· 53 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· 282 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 179.684 mph, fifth-fastest
· Series-high 776 Laps in the Top 15 (92.4%)
· 258 Quality Passes, third-most

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Patriotic Chevrolet)
· Four wins, eight top fives, eight top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 6.2
· Average Running Position of 6.9, second-best
· Driver Rating of 106.3, second-best
· Series-high 143 Fastest Laps Run
· 275 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 180.223 mph, second-fastest
· 735 Laps in the Top 15 (87.5%), second-most
· 248 Quality Passes, fifth-most

Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet)
· One win, two top fives, four top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 11.5
· Average Running Position of 10.9, 12th-best
· Driver Rating of 79.7, ninth-best
· 43 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
· 284 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 179.366 mph, sixth-fastest
· 586 Laps in the Top 15 (69.8%), eighth-most
· 243 Quality Passes, seventh-most

Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota)
· One win, five top fives, 10 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 6.5
· Average Running Position of 8.7, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 88.3, third-best
· 44 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· 286 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 179.295 mph, eighth-fastest
· 692 Laps in the Top 15 (82.4%), fourth-most
· 253 Quality Passes, fourth-most

Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford)
· Two top fives, three top 10s
· Average finish of 4.3
· Average Running Position of 8.4, third-best
· Driver Rating of 87.3, fourth-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 179.726 mph, fourth-fastest

Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Bass Pro Chevrolet)
· Average finish of 14.8
· Average Running Position of 12.7
· Driver Rating of 63.5, 23rd-best
· 211 Green Flag Passes
· 391 Laps in the Top 15 (67.4%)

Ryan Newman (No. 31 CAT-Quicken Loans Chevrolet)
· One win, three top fives, seven top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 9.6
· Average Running Position of 9.5, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 79.1, 11th-best
· 21 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
· 304 Green Flag Passes, second-most
· 710 Laps in the Top 15 (84.5%), third-most
· 266 Quality Passes, second-most

Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet)
· Average finish of 12.5
· Average Running Position of 14.8
· Driver Rating of 64.6, 21st-best
· 128 Green Flag Passes
· 184 Laps in the Top 15 (49.7%)

Brian Vickers (No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota)
· One top five, one top 10
· Average finish of 9.3
· Driver Rating of 79.6, 10th-best
· 64 Green Flag Passes
· 113 Laps in the Top 15 (66.5%)


Charlotte Motor Speedway Data
Track Size: 1.5 miles
· Banking Turns: 24 degrees
· Banking/Frontstretch: 5 degrees
· Banking/Backstretch: 5 degrees
· Frontstretch: 1,980 feet
· Backstretch: 1,500 feet

Top 10 All-Star Driver Ratings
Kyle Busch…………………………. 110.3
Jimmie Johnson…………………… 106.3
Matt Kenseth………………………… 88.3
Joey Logano………………………… 87.3
Kurt Busch……………………………. 86.4
Carl Edwards………………………… 82.8
Joe Nemechek………………………. 82.4
Jeff Gordon………………………….. 81.6
Kasey Kahne………………………… 79.7
Brian Vickers………………………… 79.6
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 NASCAR Sprint All-Star races (nine total).

2013 Race Winner: Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 90.672 mph, (01:29:20), 05-18-13
Margin of Victory: 1.722 seconds

NASCAR Sprint All-Star Wins List
1985 – Darrell Waltrip
1986 – Bill Elliott
1987 – Dale Earnhardt
1988 – Terry Labonte
1989 – Rusty Wallace
1990 – Dale Earnhardt
1991, 1992 – Davey Allison
1993 – Dale Earnhardt
1994 – Geoff Bodine
1995 – Jeff Gordon
1996 – Michael Waltrip
1997 – Jeff Gordon
1998 – Mark Martin
1999 – Terry Labonte
2000 – Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2001 – Jeff Gordon
2002 – Ryan Newman
2003 – Jimmie Johnson
2004 – Matt Kenseth
2005 – Mark Martin
2006 – Jimmie Johnson
2007 – Kevin Harvick
2008 – Kasey Kahne
2009 – Tony Stewart
2010 – Kurt Busch
2011 – Carl Edwards
2012 – Jimmie Johnson
2013 – Jimmie Johnson

NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Notebook
· There have been 29 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Races.
· The first NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race was in 1985.
· 28 have been held at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In 1986, the event was held at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and won by Bill Elliott. That season was also the first year for what is now known as the Sprint Showdown.
· 91 drivers have run in at least one NASCAR Sprint All-Star race, with 76 competing in more than one.
· Mark Martin has participated in 24 races, more than any other driver. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in Sprint All-Star starts with 20, followed by Tony Stewart with 15.
· There have been 19 different winners of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race.
· Jimmie Johnson (2003, 2006, 2012 and 2013) leads the series with the most NASCAR Sprint All-Star race wins with four.
· Dale Earnhardt (1987, 1990 and 1993) and Jeff Gordon (1995, 1997 and 2001) are three-time winners of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race.
· NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip won the inaugural NASCAR Sprint All-Star race in 1985 at 161.184 mph.
· The race has featured a field that ranged from 10 drivers in 1986 to 27 in 2002. This year’s field will have 22 participants.
· Davey Allison (1991 and 1992), Terry Labonte (1988 and 1999) and Mark Martin (1998 and 2005) are the only other drivers to post multiple victories in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race.
· Davey Allison (1991, 1992) and Jimmie Johnson (2012, 2013) are the only drivers to ever win consecutive Sprint All-Star events.
· Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2000) and Ryan Newman (2002) are the only drivers to win the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race in their rookie season.
· Jeff Gordon is the youngest winner of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at 23 years, 9 months and 18 days (1995). Mark Martin is the oldest at 46 years, 4 months and 12 days (2005).
· Joey Logano (three starts) leads the series among active drivers with an average finish of 4.3 in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race.
· Eight drivers including Joey Logano, have an average finish in the top 10 for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race: Jimmie Johnson (6.2), Matt Kenseth (6.5), Tony Stewart (8.2), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (8.3), Brian Vickers (9.3), Ryan Newman (9.6) and Jeff Gordon (9.7).
· Terry Labonte won the inaugural Coors Light pole for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race in 1985.
· 16 drivers have won Coors Light poles for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race, led by Bill Elliott with five. Kyle Busch leads all active drivers with three. Carl Edwards won last season’s pole.
· Three drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race: Davey Allison (1991, 1992) Bill Elliott (1997, 1998) and Kyle Busch (2011, 2012).
· The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race has been won from the pole position four times; the first three came in consecutive years: Dale Earnhardt (1990) and Davey Allison (1991 and 1992). Kurt Busch posted the fourth win from the pole in 2010.
· The front row starting positions are the two most proficient starting positions in the field, producing more winners (four each) than any other starting positions in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race.
· Eight of the 29 (27.5%) NASCAR Sprint All-Star races have been won from the front row: four from the pole and four from second-place.
· 21 of the 29 (72.4%) NASCAR Sprint All-Star races have been won from a top-10 starting position.
· Two of the 29 (6.8%) NASCAR Sprint All-Star races have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
· The deepest in the field a NASCAR Sprint All-Star race winner has started was 27th, by Ryan Newman in 2002.
· Hendrick Motorsports drivers have won eight NASCAR Sprint All-Star races: Jimmie Johnson (four), Jeff Gordon (three) and Terry Labonte (one).
· NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the series in top-five finishes in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race with nine; followed by Tony Stewart (eight) and Jimmie Johnson (eight).
· Bill Elliott leads the series in top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race with 13; followed by Dale Earnhardt with 12. Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all active drivers with 11 each.
· Five drivers have won the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in the same year: Darrell Waltrip (1985), Dale Earnhardt (1987, 1990, 1993), Rusty Wallace (1989), Jeff Gordon (1995, 1997, 2001) and Jimmie Johnson (2006, 2013).
· In 2008, Kasey Kahne became the first driver to get into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race by the Sprint Fan Vote and go on to win the event.
· Seven times from seven different drivers has the winner of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race gone on to win the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway the following weekend: Darrell Waltrip (1985), Davey Allison (1991), Dale Earnhardt (1993), Jeff Gordon (1997), Jimmie Johnson (2003), Kasey Kahne (2008) and Kurt Busch (2010).
· The record for lead changes in a NASCAR Sprint All-Star race is 10 in 2004.
· The record for different leaders in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race is nine in 2002.
· The series best Driver Rating performance by a NASCAR Sprint All-Star race winner was Carl Edwards posting a 141.7 in 2011.

F1 Paddock Pass: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (VIDEO)

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP speaks at a press conference next to Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Ferrari, Fernando Alonso of Spain and McLaren Honda, Romain Grosjean of France and Lotus, Daniil Kvyat of Russia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing and Roberto Merhi of Spain and Manor Marussia during previews for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
© Getty Images
Leave a comment

The 2015 Formula 1 season may not have been one for the ages, but it has certainly offered some fascinating and entertaining storylines that will continue to have repercussions as we head into the new year.

Lewis Hamilton may have a third world title under his belt, but the recent good form of Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg suggests that he may face a more stringent challenge to make it a set of four in 2016.

Before we can even begin to think about next year’s championship race though, there are a number of loose ends to be tied up in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

A number of teams’ futures are still up in the air, and while the grid is largely there, questions about the futures of most racing in F1 still linger.

For the final time in 2015, NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton brings you all of the latest news, interviews and insight in the latest edition of Paddock Pass.

In part one, we catch up with three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton as he bids to stop Rosberg’s recent resurgence, while Romain Grosjean talks about his impending adventure with Haas F1 Team in 2016 ahead of his last race for Lotus.

We also talk to F1’s unofficial rookie of the year Max Verstappen ahead of his first race under the lights in Abu Dhabi.

Part two features a trio of drivers who haven’t had a year quite as impressive as those in part one. Fernando Alonso and Daniil Kvyat have both been left frustrated by engine woes, while Kimi Raikkonen’s failure to match teammate Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari has raised more than a few question marks. We hear from all three ahead of what is surely a much-welcomed last race of the year.

MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: Abu Dhabi GP

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP speaks with Fernando Alonso of Spain and McLaren Honda next to Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Ferrari at a press confernce during previews for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
© Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton may have clinched his third Formula 1 world championship over a month ago now, but there is still plenty to play for as the paddock arrives in Abu Dhabi for the final race of the year.

Nico Rosberg’s resurgence may have been too little, too late for this year’s title fight, but the German driver is currently on a run of form that will undoubtedly make him a contender once again for the 2016 crown.

Abu Dhabi has a knack for the spectacular, running as the only twilight race on the F1 calendar and boasting the Yas Viceroy hotel as its impressive centrepiece – under the lights, the stars come out.

For the final time in 2015, here are the MST team’s picks for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Be sure to let us know in the comments section your thoughts and make your own picks.

For full TV and streaming details ahead of the Abu Dhabi GP weekend, click here.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race WinnerNico Rosberg. Two on the bounce and having finally banished the demons of 2014, I’m tipping Nico to edge Lewis again in Abu Dhabi. It’ll set things up beautifully for 2016.

Surprising FinishMax Verstappen. Abu Dhabi has a habit of producing unpredictable races, so I’m tipping F1’s unofficial rookie of the year to come through strongly once again.

Most to ProveLewis Hamilton. It may be a little harsh to say that the world champion has to prove himself at the last race of the year, but he can’t afford to lose any more ground to Rosberg heading into the winter.

Additional Storyline to Watch: Bon voyage, Romain. After ten years of association with the Enstone operation, Romain Grosjean will bid farewell to Lotus this weekend ahead of his move to Haas in 2016. Grosjean has been the on-track heartbeat of the team through some tough times, so will hopefully get the send-off he deserves.

Predict the Podium

1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race Winner: Nico Rosberg. The talking point from a Mercedes standpoint going into the weekend is one of a psychological match-up. Rosberg’s lost the 2015 season long war, of course, but has firmly gained the upper edge in battle the last two races. For offseason momentum, if there is such a thing, Rosberg stands to gain the most with a third straight win, and even though this is a track Hamilton has dominated at in the past, Rosberg’s riding the hot hand of form right now.

Surprising Finish: Kimi Raikkonen. He’d never say it publicly, but Raikkonen should desperately want to finish ahead of his countryman and recent rival Bottas in the “best of the rest” category behind the top three. Third and fourth is about where the drivers should finish in the standings, given the Ferrari’s pace.

Most to Prove: McLaren Honda. At the track where the engine made its debut last year in the post-race test, I’m praying there’s a trouble free weekend for them. That’s all I ask.

Additional Storyline to Watch: The ends of eras, and the loose ends to tie up. Several eras come to an end this weekend, and there’s several items to get tied up this weekend (Red Bull engines, and more). The paddock drama may trump on the on-track drama this weekend.

Predict the Podium

1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari

Rossi: A time to be thankful

2015 GP2 Series Round 10.
Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain
Friday 20 November 2015.
Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) 
Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
ref: Digital Image _G7C0782
© GP2 Series
Leave a comment

It’s Thanksgiving Day back home this week, and I’m very thankful for so many good things in my life.

On the racing front, my GP2 team Racing Engineering deserve every bit of thanks and praise for preparing and delivering me a race car this year that has been an utter joy to drive, even when the fates conspire against us as they did in Bahrain last weekend.

Even on those odd weekends, we’ve been able to show incredible pace and as a true team we work through the good and bad days. My sincere thanks to them!

To the organizers of the GP2 series, I am very thankful. They have yet again staged a spectacular championship. The GP2 family is tight, friendly and competitive, and the ideal environment in which to work for drivers, engineers, mechanics and everyone involved pushing towards the highest level of motorsport. I’ve been very fortunate to be part of the GP2 family.

This past race in Bahrain, we had one of those weekends which you want to hit restart on. Practice was great – we were immediately quick and then went faster still and maintained P1 as everyone went onto their long runs. In qualifying we had some braking issues and ended up ninth, not what we had targeted at all and that meant race one would be a fight. However, it was still a decent position from which to fight for points and a good starting position for the sprint race.

Our long run race pace had been really good in practice, so we knew we had a good shot in the feature race. I was pushing hard right up to my stop, and when I came out I was within reach of second place, but then had contact with Mitch Evans and had to pit for a new nose. There wasn’t anything I could do from that point and finished up 18th. Starting ninth and being very close to second showed yet again that we had a very good race car and our strategy for the race, starting from ninth, was good.

Finishing 18th on Friday meant I started the Sprint Race in the same position. With a strong field ahead it was always going to be a challenge to finish in a high points-scoring position. I had a mega start and the car was great again and I ended up ninth – not too bad considering where we started. Obviously this was not the goal for the weekend, but we maintain a strong second position in the driver’s championship.

I’m thankful to immediately have another weekend in Abu Dhabi to cement second place in the GP2 championship. I’ve had a lot of success racing around Yas Marina Circuit and my thanks must go to the people behind the circuit. They’ve made a true racer’s paradise! The track is very flat with some extremely challenging sections – some high speed, a few heavy braking zones and a technical section under the Yas Viceroy Hotel, where traction is very important to really maximize performance.

Around the circuit you have an amazing environment, all built to put on a great show for the fans. If you haven’t been before, you should try. This is especially true in late November with mild weather and there’s always an incredibly warm reception from everyone who works or comes to the events.

Next up my sincere thanks to Manor Marussia F1 Team who helped make my 2015 F1 debut happen, and I look forward to more good things with them in 2016. I could not have asked to race with a better group of people, many of whom I know from last year, in 2014 when I first started working with them.

This year the opportunity to race with Manor F1 came up quite fast and without a lot of time to prepare. Singapore was my first F1 race and everyone at the team did everything they could to make my transition from GP2 to F1 seamless. I hope to have repaid them with my performances, as these past five F1 races were important leading into 2016. I enjoyed every second with them and am very thankful for the opportunity.

Finally, I must thank the group of people that are around me, allowing me to focus on racing and my fitness. Every driver has a similar team and 99% of the time they are not seen or mentioned. My team work tirelessly both physically and mentally to help me achieve my goals. I am very blessed to have such good people on my side.

Enjoy this weekend’s races in Abu Dhabi, the finale for both the F1 and GP2 Championships. Thank you all for your support and for everyone back home, have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day celebrating with family.

Many Blessings,


Raikkonen: 2015 an improved but “average” year

xxxx during previews for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
© Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen has called 2015 an “average” year and said that his performances are still far from where he wants them to be.

After a miserable 2014 campaign that saw him finish 12th in the drivers’ championship, Raikkonen has enjoyed an upturn in fortunes this year partly in thanks to the improvements made to the Ferrari car.

However, the Finn has still failed to match the results of teammate Sebastian Vettel, scoring 131 fewer points and 12 fewer podium finishes than the German driver this year.

When asked ahead of this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix how he would sum up the year, Raikkonen was his usual blunt self, saying that his performances were still a far cry from where he wanted them to be.

“Pretty average, I must say,” Raikkonen said. “Better than last year but still far away from what it should be.

“But there’s life and next year we’ll try again. Obviously this year has been a lot stronger year from the team than previous year and you can easily see it from whichever way you look at it and it all comes to next year.

“Obviously that’s the aim: the aim is always to try to be in the front and Mercedes has always been very strong last years and everybody else tries to beat them. Is it going to happen? Are we going to be in a position next year? We hope so at least.”

Much has been said about a possible challenge to pace-setters Mercedes by Ferrari in 2016, but Raikkonen is waiting to reserve judgement until the 2016 car has hit the track.

“We have to wait until we put the cars on the circuit in a test and the first few races, then we really see where we are,” Raikkonen said.

“Obviously there’s a lot of work being done at the factory, number and stuff but it’s never the same until we’re really on the circuit. Then we can see it pretty well, or feel it quite quickly, after a few laps, if it’s going to a good one or not so good one.

“I’m sure we’re going to have a strong package, but is it strong enough? Time will only tell.”