CONCORD, N.C. — The race was billed as a throwback to the Wild West, and track officials practically promised scores would be settled in the $1 million Sprint All-Star Race.
Only the knock ‘em down action never came, and the only fireworks were those in Saturday night’s postrace show at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The only drama came after Carl Edwards took the checkered flag during his celebratory slide through the grass.
Although he appeared to hit either a manhole cover or a drainage device, his car instead seemed only to dip hard into the grass contact that crumpled the front of his No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.
After his trademark celebratory backflip, Edwards needed a tow truck to take him to victory lane. He left behind a deep rut in Charlotte’s infield grass.
Edwards, who won three of the four segments in the 100-lap race, had a sheepish grin as he climbed out his window for his customary celebratory backflip, and he apologized to crew chief Bob Osborne for wrecking the car.
“That’s a million dollars. We just won a million dollars,” Edwards said from victory lane. “I feel so bad about tearing up the car. But I’m sure Bob’s got a better one.”
Kyle Busch, who has a history of wrecking cars capable of winning the All-Star race, settled for second. David Reutimann was third and followed by Tony Stewart, who celebrated his 40th birthday a day earlier.
Greg Biffle was fifth, Matt Kenseth was sixth and RFR teammate David Ragan was eighth to put all four of the team’s car inside the top eight. Ragan won the Sprint Showdown qualifier earlier Saturday to earn his spot in the field.
Denny Hamlin was seventh. Kevin Harvick was ninth and Ryan Newman rounded out the top 10.
Soon after the race, Edwards was off to catch a flight to Iowa to run the Nationwide Series event Sunday.
“I really can’t wait to go,” he said. “The most enjoyable thing I can do is go race another car.”
Most everyone else will have to wait for next week’s Coca-Cola 600, the longest race of the NASCAR season. The All-Star Race usually is the warm-up act for the 600, and the final 10 laps of Saturday night have always been billed as a wild, dash for the cash.
But the excitement never came, as the drivers raced clean and caution free.
“This was a pretty tame night, at least from the All-Star perspective,” Stewart said.