Kevin Harvick's team helped him win the All-Star Challenge with a perfect pit stop at the end of the race. More pix at the end of this page...
Million Dollar Payday for Harvick
CHARLOTTE, NC (May 19, 2007) - Kevin Harvick saved the best for last Saturday night and held off hard-charging Jimmie Johnson to win the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
Harvick took the lead on the 61st of a total of 80 laps around the 1-1/2-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
Kyle Busch provided plenty of fireworks as the final segment started, easing below brother Kurt Busch in the first turn. Kyle lost the handle on his Rick Hendrick Chevrolet and spun, collecting brother Kurt in the process.
Harvick, who ran in the top five throughout the four-segment event, literally drove the wheels off his Richard Childress Chevrolet to stay in front of Johnson, who was breathing down his tailpipes the final 10 laps.
Everybody's favorite Mark Martin finished third with Harvick teammate Jeff Burton fourth. Tony Stewart battled an ill-handling car all night but wrestled his Home Depot Chevy to fifth place.
Rounding out the top 10 were Johnny Sauter, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and teammate Martin Truex Jr.
Jeff Gordon finished 11th after a flat tire forced him into the pits. He was running with the leaders when misfortune struck.
Kenseth, who had his Jack Roush Ford up front much of the night, had to go to the rear of the field after speeding on pit road before the start of the final dash.
Harvick ran the low line on the track with Johnson in tow for the final laps. Johnson tried every trick he could think of to pass the smooth-driving Daytona 500 winner but fell short by a car length.
In the first segment with Johnson several car lengths back. Hamlin was charging through the field and so was Earnhardt Jr. Hamlin slowed, however, and lost several positions as the field stretched out around the track.
Gordon took over second after 19 laps.
At the end of the first 20-laps, it was Kenseth, Gordon, Johnson, Harvick, Burton, Newman, Kyle Busch, Earnhardt, Kasey Kahne and Hamlin.
Kyle Busch stayed on the track at the end of the first segment and led every lap of the second 20-lap run. Gordon pitted along with others but eventually made his way back to second at the end of 40 laps.
The most impressive drive of the first two runs was made by Johnny Sauter, who finished second in the preliminary NEXTEL Open race to gain a starting position in the all-star event. Sauter started the race at the rear of the field but zoomed into contention by the end of the second segment. Sauter was the talk of pits when the field made a halfway stop. He was in seventh place behind Kyle Busch, Gordon, Harvick, Kenseth, Burton and Martin.
Trailing Sauter in eighth was Johnson, who started the second session well back after a pit stop. Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman rounded out the top 10 at the halfway point.
Kyle Busch bobbled at the start of the third 20-lap segment and went back to fourth place. Bobby Labonte brought out the first caution of the clear, cool night when he smacked the wall after 41 laps. Kenseth went back out front and Gordon moved into second place.
Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Casey Mears had to go to the rear for speeding on pit road prior to the final 20-lap shootout. Gordon was the leader when the flag fell on the final segment.
Complete race results in the Related news section on this page...
Checkered Flag Fast Facts
Practice: Friday, May 18 (SPEED at 2 p.m./AT, 1 p.m./ET)
Qualifying: Friday, May 18 (SPEED at 7 p.m./AT, 6 p.m./ET)
Nextel All-Star Special: Saturday, May 19 (SPEED at 3:30 p.m./AT, 2:30 p.m./ET)
Pre-Race: Saturday, May 19 (SPEED at 5 p.m./AT, 4 p.m./ET)
Race: Saturday, May 19 (FOX at 8 p.m./AT, 7 p.m./ET)
- Kevin Harvick won the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, his first victory in the annual all-star event.
- This is his fourth top-10 finish in seven appearances in the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. His
best previous finish was second in 2006.
- Harvick’s 0.141-second margin-of-victory over Jimmie Johnson is the closest finish in NASCAR NEXTEL
All-Star Challenge race history.
- Kevin Harvick claimed $1,031,539 of the $2,989,364 purse.
- It is the fourth NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge victory for car owner Richard Childress. He is second
to Rick Hendrick (six) in car owner wins.
- Matt Kenseth won the pole for the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and led all 20 laps in winning the
- Kyle Busch led all 20 laps to claim the second segment.
- Kenseth won the third segment but Jeff Gordon led the field to the green for the final segment after the
mandatory pit stops.
- Martin Truex Jr. won The NEXTEL Open and transferred to the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.
Johnny Sauter transferred in based on his second-place finish and Kenny Wallace made the race by
winning the NEXTEL Fan Vote.
Green Flag Fast Facts
The Race: NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge
The Place: Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C.
The Date: Saturday, May 19
The Time: 9 p.m. (ET)
TV: SPEED, 7 p.m. (ET)
The Track: 1.5 mile oval
The Distance: 120 miles/80 laps
The Purse: $3,264,364 total; $1,011,125 for winner
2006 Winner: Jimmie Johnson
2006 Pole: Kasey Kahne
Pre-Race On-Track Schedule (local/ET time): Friday—Practice, 2:30-3:45 p.m. Qualifying—7:15.
Pre-Race Point Standings: n/a - non points event
Format Facts: Challenge Gets Several ‘Tune-Ups’ For 2007
The NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge format has been modified slightly for 2007, starting with the race “segments” which have been increased from three to four with each segment uniform in distance – 20 laps/30 miles.
In terms of eligibility, race winners (drivers and owners) from the previous and current season get invites, as do past all-star champions from the previous 10 seasons. Past NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champions dating to 1996 also qualify, provided they are active drivers who have competed in at least one event during 2006 or ’07.
Here’s another change: The annual 20-lap all-star “preliminary” event, the NEXTEL Open (for teams that have not won races in 2006 or ’07) will transfer the top-two finishers to the all-star race. Previously, only the winner of the NEXTEL Open advanced to the main event.
Also, a mandatory pit stop will come after the third segment. The order in which teams leave pit road determines the starting order for the fourth and final segment.
A total of 21 drivers will compete in the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge Saturday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, 13 of which qualified because they won races. Casey Mears (No. 25 GMAC Chevrolet) makes it because of his Hendrick Motorsports team’s win last October at Talladega Superspeedway, with then-driver Brian Vickers.
Vickers (No. 83 Red Bull Toyota) also qualifies via that win, giving the new Toyota efforts one of two entries into the all-star event. The other is wheeled by Dale Jarrett (No. 44 UPS Toyota) who makes it because he’s a past series champion within the last 10 years.
Driver - "Admission Ticket" to 2007 All-Star Challenge
Greg Biffle - Victory at Las Vegas, March 2006
Jeff Burton - Victory at Dover, Sept. 2006
Kurt Busch - Victory at Bristol, April 2006
Kyle Busch - Victory at N.H., Sept. 2006
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - Victory at Richmond, May 2006
Jeff Gordon - Victory at Infineon, June '06
Denny Hamlin - Victory at Pocono, June 2006
Kevin Harvick - Victory at Phoenix, April 2006
Dale Jarrett - Won 1999 series championship
Jimmie Johnson - Victory at Daytona, February 2006
Kasey Kahne - Victory at Atlanta, March 2006
Matt Kenseth - Victory at California, February 2006
Bobby Labonte - Won 2000 series championship
Mark Martin - Won 1998 all-star event
Casey Mears - No. 25 team won/Talladega, Oct. '06
Ryan Newman - Won 2002 all-star event
Tony Stewart - Victory at Martinsville, April 2006
Brian Vickers - Victory at Talladega, October 2006
Top-two finishers in the NEXTEL Open
Winner of NEXTEL Fan Vote
Keys to Winning
(May 16, 2007) - Prior to Saturday’s NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, the third annual NASCAR NEXTEL Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman will be held Wednesday night at Charlotte Bobcats Arena in Charlotte, N.C. The six-round, head-to-head competition between the series’ top 24 pit crews crowns an overall champion and seven individual position champions.
It’s only the start of spotlighting pit crews this week.
This year, teams will select their pit stalls for the all-star race based on the Pit Crew Challenge finishing order. Saturday night’s new event format, which features four 20-lap segments, also places new priority on pit-road performances.
Teams have the option of pitting after the first 20-lap segment, which means relinquishing track position. A mandatory 10-minute stop follows the second 20-lap segment, with teams resuming their position to start the third segment.
After the third 20-lap segment, remaining teams will run one lap under caution, then pit for a minimum stop-and-go under race conditions. They’ll start the fourth and final segment in the order that they exit pit road.
“The way the race is structured, two of the stops we'll be pitting on the fly,” said Robbie Reiser, crew chief for Matt Kenseth. “So it gives the guys on pit road a real opportunity to be a part of this race and make a difference.”
Kevin Manion, crew chief for the No.1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Chevrolet – his crew won the pit crew championship last year – calls this a “great weekend for motorsports” and says the pit crew challenge not only has a carry-over to the all-star race but to next week’s Coca-Cola 600, the season’s longest race.
“It gives us great motivation going into the 600, where you have to do 15 pit stops,” Manion said.
Past Winners of the All-Star Challenge
1985 - Darrell Waltrip
1986 - Bill Elliott
1987 - Dale Earnhardt
1988 - Terry Labonte
1989 - Rusty Wallace
1990 - Dale Earnhardt
1991 - Davey Allison
1992 - Davey Allison
1993 - Dale Earnhardt
1994 - Geoffrey Bodine
1995 - Jeff Gordon
1996 - Michael Waltrip
1997 - Jeff Gordon
1998 - Mark Martin
1999 - Terry Labonte
2000 - Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2001 - Jeff Gordon
2003 - Jimmie Johnson
2004 - Matt Kenseth
2005 - Mark Martin
2006 - Jimmie Johnson
All-Star Challenge Green Flag Tidbits
Photo Gallery - Saturday, May 19
- The talent level is undeniable, for the 23rd annual NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. The field features seven NASCAR
NEXTEL Cup Series champions, a group collectively accounting for 11 titles: four-time champion Jeff Gordon, two-time champion
Tony Stewart, Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson. There are six former winners of the
all-star race: Gordon, Kenseth, Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin and Ryan Newman. Two drivers are in the all-star race for the first time: Denny Hamlin and Casey Mears. Mears is the only driver without a victory in the event. He qualifies because the car he’s driving this year – the No. 25 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports – won at Talladega Superspeedway last season, with Brian Vickers the driver. That Talladega victory gets Vickers into the all-star race for the second time and gives Toyota its second entry (Jarrett is in the other.)
- NBA great Michael Jordan, now the managing member of basketball operations for the Charlotte Bobcats, will be the Grand Marshal for Saturday night’s NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, supplying the traditional “gentlemen, start your engines" command.
- Grammy Award-winning Gospel/R&B singer BeBe Winans will perform the national anthem prior to the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.
NBA legend Michel Jordan autographs a pair of Air Nike's for Dale Earnhardt Jr...
Martin Truex (1) and Johnny Sauter (70) finished first and second in the Nextel Open and transferred to the Challenge...
Michael Jordan gave the start engines command for the All-Star Challenge...
Jimmie Johnson (48) and Ryan Newman (12) race for position...
As do Truex (1) and Bobby Labonte (43)...
At the end, Harvick won over Johnson by a couple of car lengths...
Harvick celebrates his first All-Star Challenge win with a burnout...
And then went to Victory Lane to collect his million dollar + portion of the purse...
Photo Gallery - Friday, May 18
Carl Edwards will pace the field to the green flag for the NASCAR Nextel Open...Edwards has decided that any money he
wins from the race – even if he should capture the $1 million top prize – he will split between Speedway Children’s
Charities and the Victory Junction Gang Camp.
Matt Kenseth will lead the pack for the start of the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge...
Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes a break during Friday practice...And participated in an interested Q&A session with media members. Click on
Jr's photo for the interview...
Jimmie Johnson (left) and crew chief Chad Knauss, the defending champions of the All-Star Challenge, take a break during Friday
practice. More pix at the end of this page...
IMPORTANT: All information, schedules and/or scheduled events is/are subject to change without notice. Please
check with the source to confirm.
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