NASCAR drivers want your vote. Well, at least some of them do. You see, the Sprint All-Star Race is coming up this weekend and not everyone’s in it. Drivers who have won, up to this point, this season and/or won a race last year, along with drivers who still compete in the sport who have won the All-Star Race in the last 10 years, already have positions locked for Saturday night’s All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Everyone else, though, will be making last-ditch efforts to get a spot in the All-Star Race through Friday night’s Sprint Showdown.
The top-two drivers in the Sprint Showdown will advance to the All-Star Race, but drivers are hoping to pad their chances one other way — by winning the popular fan vote at NASCAR.com/SprintFanVote. The highest vote getter in that online poll who finishes on the lead lap in the Showdown and comes out of that event with a car that’s still raceable, will get the final slot in the Sprint All-Star Race
And like all good (or bad, depending on your viewpoint) candidates in any campaign, there’s been some serious campaigning going on to get your vote. And I’m assuming the drivers approved these messages. And unlike in those other elections, when it comes to voting a driver into the All-Star Race, fans are urged to vote early and vote often. At this point, though, it’s too late to vote early, as the polls close at 7 p.m. ET on Friday.
Love her or hate her, Danica Patrick received the popular vote last year. A.J. Allmendinger has tried to use that fact to his advantage this go around by reaching out to those Danica haters who want to see someone else get in.
“If you get tired of voting for Danica, you can cast your Sprint fan vote for me for the All-Star Race,” Allmendinger offered. “I’m charming. I’m funning, handsome. I know Danica’s everybody’s favorite, but I need some votes, too. So vote for me, please. I’m begging you.”
Okay, so maybe Allmendinger has come across as being kind of needy, but he has promised to do The Worm, if fans vote him in.
“I mean, who doesn’t want to see a driver come out and do the worm across the stage and have a good time? That’s what I’m all about,” Allmendinger said.
Speaking of Danica, she seems to have double-sided politician speak down.
“I would rather race my way in but, if I have to get in by fan vote, what other way is better than that?,” Danica was quoted in saying in her team’s race preview press release.
I’m thinking she’s saying that racing her way in is the best way to get into the Sprint All-Star Race, if that’s the way she’d rather get in. But in the same quote, she also implies that the fan vote is the best way in. Way to try to satisfy both sides, Danica.
While Allmendinger lays out a tongue-in-cheek campaign pledge, others have taken a more serious route, perhaps in attempt to tug at fans’ heartstrings. It’s not considered bribery or vote buying if drivers pledge to donate to a worthy cause, is it?
Series rookie Austin Dillon has pledged to donate the $1 million winner’s purse to the Armed Forces Foundation if fans vote him in and he wins the race. So the fan vote won’t automatically result in the donation, as he would also have to win the race. Wonder if he’ll still make that donation if he races his way in and then wins?
Marcos Ambrose is another driver pledging a donation in exchange for enough votes to get into the All-Star Race. If Ambrose gets voted in, he’s promised a $25,000 donation to the Victory Junction Gang Camp — a dollar amount matching his NASCAR fine from his altercation with Casey Mears a few weeks ago.
Oh, and this campaign also has its celebrity endorsements. Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil has come out in support of Ricky Stenhouse Jr., while Carrot Top has endorsed Patrick. Rapper 50 Cent threw his support Parker Kligerman’s way, but I’m kind of wondering about that endorsement. After all, I’m guessing 50 felt obligated at the time he announced it. At the time of said endorsement, 50 was financially backing Swan Racing, the team for which Kligerman was racing. The team has since fallen on hard times and folded.
Hate to say it, but a vote for Kligerman is a vote wasted at this point. Without a ride, Kligerman is the backup driver for Kurt Busch in the coming weeks, as Busch tries the Charlotte/Indianapolis double. Kligerman doesn’t even have a ride for the All-Star Race, vote or no vote.
And a vote for fellow Sprint Cup Series rookie Justin Allgaier is also a wasted vote. His. HScott Motorsports team has already announced that it won’t be participating in All-Star weekend.
There still time to vote. Remember, vote early and vote often. Also remember, Allmendinger needs votes; he’s begging, for crying out loud. And in the spirit of primaries, here’s the list of top-10 vote getters, so far, in the election (as of Monday)
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