Wood Brothers and Bill Elliott Fond All-Star Race Memories This weekend will showcase the 25th running of what is today known as the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and kicks-off two weekends of NASCAR racing in Charlotte at Lowe's Motor Speedway....
Wood Brothers and Bill Elliott Fond All-Star Race Memories
This weekend will showcase the 25th running of what is today known as the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and kicks-off two weekends of NASCAR racing in Charlotte at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The All-Star race is a non-points Sprint Cup event. Drivers are selected for the race in one of the following ways:
1. Race-winning drivers and car owners from the previous and current Cup Series seasons; 2. Drivers who have won the All-Star Race in the past 10 years; 3. Drivers who were Cup champions in the past 10 years; 4. The top-two finishers in the Sprint Showdown, a 40-lap preliminary race; and 5. One driver who is voted in by the fans.
The Wood Brothers are entered in this weekend's "Showdown" with Bill Elliott scheduled to pilot the #21 Motorcraft sponsored Ford Fusion. While the Team will do it's best to earn one of the top two finishing spots and try to qualify for the All-Star race, just getting track time will be helpful in preparing for the Coca-Cola 600 to be run on May 24, 2009. Bill can also qualify for the All-Star race by being voted in by the fans. If you would like to vote for Bill, click on the following link - www.nascar.com/promos/allstar/?sc_cid=allstar5 .
Both the Wood Brothers and Bill Elliott have enjoyed success in the All-Star race. During the second All-Star race (then called "The Winston") run in 1986, NASCAR moved the race to the Atlanta Speedway. It was the only time the All-Star race was run outside of Charlotte. Bill was coming off his best season after capturing the Cup championship and winning 11 events. He entered the race driving the #9 Coors sponsored Ford Thunderbird. Bill dominated the race from beginning to end, only once relinquishing the lead to Dale Earnhardt, Sr. for a short time while making a pit stop. His performance was indicative of how the hard working Georgian became known as "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville."
In 1996 the Wood Brothers brought their #21 Citgo sponsored Ford Thunderbrid to Charlotte looking for their first All-Star win with Michael Waltrip scheduled to drive. While Michael had driven since 1985, he hadn't yet won a race. The Wood Brothers were long-shots having to make the All-Star race by being one of the top 5 finishers in the qualifying race. Michael drove the #21 to a fifth place finish in the preliminary race earning the last transfer spot into the main event. After making the All-Star race, Michael found himself in third place during the final 10 laps behind race leaders Terry Labonte and Dale Earnhardt, Sr. With 8 laps to go, Michael watched as Earnhardt slid up the track and made contact with Labonte. Michael kept the #21 on the bottom of the track, took the lead and won the race by 1.052 seconds over Rusty Wallace. Michael became the first driver to win the All-Star Race after transferring in from a qualifying race.
Because the All-Star race is a non-points race where only winning counts, anything can happen. Don't miss the "Showdown" and the "All-Star Race" this Saturday, May 16, 2009 on the Speed Channel - coverage begins at 7:00 pm.