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Edwards wins $1.2m All-Star pay cheque

Carl Edwards proved himself the best of the best with victory in the Sprint All-Star competition over Kyle Busch. David Ragan won the Showdown and Dale Earnhardt Jr was the fan choice.
Sprint Cup championship leader Carl Edwards underlined just how strong and on-form he is right now by beating all of the very best drivers in NASCAR's top series in the exhibition All-Star event.

Oh, and he also pocketed a cool million dollars for his evening's work when he held off Kyle Busch in the #18 to the chequered flag.

The All-Star event, and the associated Sprint Showdown, are not part of the regular Sprint Cup season and operate to a highly idiosyncratic format that takes almost as long to understand and explain as the event itself does to run - it doesn't help that the organisers of the event at Charlotte Motor Speedway just love to tinker with it every now and then, too.

The line-up
To start with, not all of the regular Sprint Cup drivers are eligible to even run in the All-Star event.

The line-up is made up of drivers who have won a Sprint Cup race in 2010 or so far this season, together with all Sprint Cup champions from the last decade (a lower number than usual, thanks to the recent domination by Jimmie Johnson) and all the All-Star winners over the same period.

Taken together that meant the starting line-up consisted of 18 drivers in total: Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray, Juan Montoya, Ryan Newman, David Reutimann, Regan Smith and Tony Stewart.

The line-up would normally have included a 19th driver - Trevor Bayne became eligible for the race thanks to his win at the Daytona 500. However, the Roush Fenway team announced on Thursday that they were withdrawing Bayne from all racing activity this weekend because of his ongoing health issues.

There are three additional spots available: one is for the winner of an "X-Factor"-style fan vote, and with Dale Earnhardt Jr. no longer automatically included in the All-Star line-up it was a foregone conclusion that Junior would be the overwhelming choice here - reportedly receiving 2.4 million votes.

"I thank not only my fans, but all the fans that voted," said Dale after the vote winner was announced. "I know my fans worked really hard. I kept up on the Internet about the temperature they had about it. They were committed pretty hard. So I appreciate the help."

He insisted that he hadn't taken it for granted. "Anytime there's a contest, they don't announce the winner, there's no guarantees ... I didn't take it for granted. I knew my fans were working really hard. They've done a great job over the last several years of locking up the most popular driver award. All the credit goes to them."




Related Pictures

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David Ragan crosses the finish line to win the Sprint Showdown which transferred him into the NASCAR Sprint All Star Race for the first time in his career. [Picture credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch race side by side for the lead of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. [Picture credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Carl Edwards managed to mangle the front end of the race-winning #99 with his victory celebration slide through the infield grass at Charlotte Motor Speedway. [Picture credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Carl Edwards hoists his NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race trophy after winning the race for the first time in his career. [Picture credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Carl Edwards does his trademark victory backflip off the side of #99 at the end of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. [Picture credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 2nd position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, won the pole position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined by Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS on the front row. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ParkerStore Chevrolet, poses with the Keystone Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenal Ford, climbs out of his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, talks to his crew chief, Paul Wolfe, after failing to advance to the championship round of the Chase for the Spring Cup after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/ Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, leads Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, lead the field through the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series DAV 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series DAV 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series DAV 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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