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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup

OBSERVATIONS: Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway

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In hopes of spicing up the racing some, the sanctioning body offered a package for the drivers and fans unique for Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star race. Based on the show that was delivered, it was a success.

Compared to most of the intermediate events this season for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, there was more passing in those 80 laps compared to races with an excess of 200 circuits. You could see the runs developing as they happened, followed by dives for a position, and sometimes even three-wide battles. 

Of course, most people probably won’t remember that as once Kevin Harvick got the lead at the end, it was all him at the front of the field as nobody could get a run on him in the final laps and he cruised to another victory. Though before that point, it was anybody’s guess as to whether it’d be Harvick, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. or someone else winning.

While the end of the event was anti-climatic, the final laps of the Monster Energy Open to get into the big show made up for that. Everybody was already on their feet in watching Chase Elliott and Erik Jones go back and forth, but the move by A.J. Allmendinger to go from fourth to first sealed the deal. 

Although the package is a step in the right direction, there are some concerns if the sanctioning body was to implement it moving forward at other events.

First one, being able to get some of those runs depended whether you had someone behind you giving you a shove in the draft. Do we want to see drivers having to rely on each other when it should be all 40 against each other equally? Sure, that’s the racing that we get four times a year – twice at Daytona International Speedway and twice at Talladega Superspeedway – but are we ready to expand that?

Secondly, the diehards and purest of the sport have been chased away in watching rule changes on a yearly basis. The objective of creating great side-by-side racing and competition should always be there, and finding ways to attract younger fans, but is it fair to do that in creating a basis of manufactured style racing? If that was the case, some might accuse the sanctioning body being too close to what IROC was, whereas NASCAR was built on innovation, bending the rules, and different manufacturers up against each other.

Though for a single night, you could deem the package successful as it did its job of producing an exciting night of racing action for those watching. 



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Ashley McCubbin

Currently the Executive Editor for Popular Speed, Ashley McCubbin also runs Short Track Musings, while handling media relations for OSCAAR. Currently living in Bradford, Ontario, she spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area taking photos.