In My Opinion

Sorensen: All-Star Race gets right to the point

tsorensen@charlotteobserver.comMay 18, 2013 

— Ever find yourself with somebody who won’t stop talking, notice his watch and ask, “In 75 words or less what time is it?”

The beauty of Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race is that it is not long-winded. The race is built for speed. Drivers don’t dawdle. They get to it.

Of course the all-star race is a gimmick, and occasionally the gimmick fails. Jimmie Johnson was considerably faster than the competition last year, and he proved it whenever he needed to. The race was a bore.

But it was a brief bore – an hour and 28 minutes.

The rules enabled Johnson to win the first of the five segments into which the race is divided, spend the next three segments driving as if he had no place to go and all night to get there, and dominate the final segment. On Saturday that won’t be allowed.

“I said the rules were stupid and they need to change it to this year’s rules so I take full credit and responsibility for them changing the rules,” says Kyle Busch.

Next Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 is, as you might expect, 600 miles. Manhattan is about 600 miles from Charlotte.

The all-star race is 135 miles. That’s about the distance from Charlotte to Chapel Hill.

Last year’s 600 lasted three hours, 51 minutes and 48 seconds. In 2011 the 600 lasted 4:33.14. That’s an average of 4:12.

Even last week’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 lasted 3:32.45.

Who sits in one place 3 1/2 hours? The Southern 500 lasted longer than a movie, longer than a football game and longer than the San Antonio-Los Angeles Lakers first-round NBA playoff series.

This is how long the 500 lasted. If it ran two minutes and 15 seconds longer it would have lasted as long as the 2013 Oscars.

The all-star race features segments of 20, 20, 20, 20 and 10 laps. It is so fast that Darrell Waltrip of Fox Sports might not have time to say “Boogity, boogity, boogity.” Maybe he gets in only two. If you need a reason to like the race, there it is.

Waltrip talks incessantly about Danica Patrick whether she’s in 41st place or 37th. Why not wait until she and her team acquire the experience and expertise to move into position to compete? Patrick is not in the all-star race at the moment. If she gets in, the race will take off so quickly Waltrip won’t have time to pontificate about her.

The winner of the all-race collects $1 million. If he – or she – wins the previous four segments, he or she will collect $1 million more.

That’s $2 million, a sum that, at least for me and most working stiffs, is a magical number. Ha, ha. I have $2 million. This month I can pay MasterCard and VISA.

But what’s $2 million to a millionaire?

“If somebody does ring that bell it will be a hell of a party,” Johnson says about winning all five segments.

What are the odds?

“If I were a sports bookie,” says Busch, who is from Las Vegas, “I would put a 300-1 on it.”

But don’t you have to try? Brad Keselowski, what’s your strategy?

“Try to win all four segments and $2 million,” he says. “That’s my strategy. I haven’t really thought about anything more than that.”

You have to win five segments.

“There’s five?” Keselowski asks. “Why do you all confuse me? I’ll win all five then.”

Sorensen: 704-358-5119

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