Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race Preview

Can Joey Logano win tonight's Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race? (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Can Joey Logano win tonight’s Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race? (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

By all means, tonight’s Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race won’t be about points or a championship.  Instead, it’s about being victorious against the very best in the past year of stock car racing.

For the drivers in tonight’s race, it’s about that sweet, $1 million prize awaiting them following four stages of exciting action.  However, our columnists here on The Podium Finish will fight for a sweet new die-cast car from Lionel Racing!

Tonight, Ashley HobbsChristina BowmanCody ShoppeJose Acero JrKathleen Cassidy, Kobe LambethMatt Sisoler, and yours truly share our favorite All-Star Race memories and make some surprising race picks!

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Question 1
Who remembers Jeff Gordon's T-Rex car for the 1997 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race?

Who remembers Jeff Gordon’s T-Rex car for the 1997 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race?

The Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race has seen different formats, paint schemes, and winners since 1985.  What has been your favorite All-Star Race to date and what made it memorable to you?

Bowman :  I am biased, because my favorite all star race was 10 years ago when I was able to watch it in person. I could not tell you who won, or even most of what happened that day. But I remember that every single person in those stands barely sat throughout the entire event!

Hobbs :  It’s hard to pick a race as memorable solely because the event has changed so much; and sadly, the actual racing has gone downhill. That being said, the last time there was a Pit Crew Challenge (2012) because that event truly made the All-Star Race weekend something unique and special.

Sisoler :  My favorite All-Star race was in 2001. DW’s call of over half the field wrecking into Turn 1 was legendary. “Oh for Pete’s sake. What a way to start this event!” followed by Mike Joy’s “And for some drivers, what a way to end it” was too perfect, and then for NASCAR to use the EIRI (Except In Rare Instances) rule to call for a do-over and let the drivers who wreck get their backups out and get back out on track was great.

Also, if that wasn’t enough, Jeff Gordon, one of the guys who wrecked when he spun down the track and got T-Boned by Mikey Waltrip, comes out in his backup car and takes the checkered flag! That will be an All-Star Race I will always remember.

Tiongson :  This’ll likely show my “NASCAR age,” but the 1997 running of the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race, or what was then called The Winston, was absolutely magnificent.  Some of the most memorable special paint schemes were on display at Charlotte including Dale Earnhardt’s Wheaties colors, Michael Waltrip’s Citgo Dalmatian ride, and of course, Jeff Gordon’s Jurassic Park: The Ride car.  

Sure, it didn’t have a “Pass in the Grass,” but it was the night when we saw how creative Gordon and his No. 24 crew could get during the sport’s transition to national prominence.  As memorable as Gordon’s colors and win was, it could be perceived as a compliment that NASCAR essentially advised the No. 24 team to never bring the “T-Rex” car back on track again.

Question 2
Sometimes, it's about being standard and simply winning.

Sometimes, it’s about being standard and simply winning.

Over the years, we’ve seen various special paint schemes promoting movies, a pop culture icon, the Olympics, or a historical ride. What’s your all-time favorite All-Star Race paint scheme to date?

Cassidy :  Dale Jr’s 88 Mountain Dew Baja Blast – love the colours!

Acero :  I may sound biased but the 2009 No. 14 Office Depot red and black Chevrolet that gave Stewart his All-Star win!

Shoppe :  With Jayski’s paint scheme archive still being revived (so thankful they are coming back, by the way), I was only going off of memory on this one! My favorite All-Star specific paint schemes were the Pennzoil Platinum schemes run by Kevin Harvick around 2006-08 time frame.

Harvick would win the Nextel All-Star Challenge in this paint scheme in 2007. In 2008, they made it look even better adding some blue to the Platinum making a COT actually bearable to look at!

Lambeth :  Call me basic, but I loved Kyle Busch’s 2016 All-Star race paint scheme, honoring the 75th anniversary of M&M’s. Busch driving the No. 75 car was something a little different than his typical No. 18 Toyota Camry.

The championship and battle for season long points will continue next weekend.  At the moment, let’s focus on winning a staple of NASCAR since 1985!  Here’s our picks for tonight’s Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte!
Will one of these exciting racers stand tall tonight? (Photo Credit: Josh Jones, Sean Folsom, and Jonathan Huff)

Will one of these exciting racers stand tall tonight? (Photo Credit: Josh Jones, Sean Folsom, and Jonathan Huff)

Acero :  Clint Bowyer!

Bowman :  I see Clint Bowyer going all-out for the win!

Sisoler :  I would absolutely love it if Kevin Harvick won with the Millennial Car, just for the memes (I’m so sorry for that phrasing), but with how well Clint Bowyer ran Friday, I think might be the not-at-all lit, yet still lovably crazy Kansas native grabbing the checkers here.

Cassidy :  Kurt Busch

Hobbs :  Denny Hamlin seems to fair well at this all or nothing event.

Lambeth :  In honor of millennials, Kevin Harvick is going to take the LIT No. 4 coupe and skrrt skrrt his way into victory lane. In this case, it’s another trophy to take back to the crib!

Shoppe :  Brad Keselowski

Tiongson :  Let’s see what you can do, Joey Logano!

Race fans, thanks for joining us for our preview of the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlote!

We’re ready for some racing. How about you? What do you think are the biggest storylines heading into Saturday night’s race and who is your favorite to win?  Tweet us now @ThePodiumFinish and tell us now!

Thanks as always to the TPF team for their amazing efforts this week!  We hope to see you at the races in 2019. 

The opinions and thoughts expressed in Podium Preview are solely of the authors. They do not reflect any organizations affiliated with the participants and author outside of TPF. This weekly feature is strictly for entertainment purposes and are not indicative of TPF, the organization, and its staff.

Rob Tiongson

30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field, and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught my eye. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by me or by one of my talented columnists who absolutely have a passion for racing.

Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. I enjoy editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography.

Graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Proud to be from Massachusetts, just as happy to be a Texan.

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