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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]
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag, Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Following in second place is Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag, Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag, Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, affixes the winner’s decal to his car in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, lead the field prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 3, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 3, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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