Peter Casey/USA Today Sports
It was a crazy day for NASCAR as the Sprint All-Star race turned into a fiasco that no one was prepared for. A new format was implemented for 2016 and the result left both drivers and fans disappointed.
The format was confusing as drivers were required to make a pit stop under the green flag within the first 50 laps of the first segment. That rule wasn’t an issue until race leader Matt Kenseth found himself on the track when fellow racer Jamie McMurray caused a caution with only a few laps left in the segment. As a result, Kenseth didn’t have enough time for the required green-flag stop and was penalized one lap. Since Kenseth was technically the race leader, it meant that almost half of the racers were forced to suffer his one lap penalty.
To add to the chaos, a crazy wreck occurred during Lap 23 that caused major damage to four cars. Among those damaged was the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet belonging to three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, who was driving his final All-Star event.
An angry Stewart said he was confused by the new set-up of the All-Star event.
“I’m as baffled as everybody. I don’t know how in the hell we were scored a lap down after they stopped the 20 car (of Matt Kenseth earlier for a penalty) and they pit everybody together. … It’s the most screwed-up All-Star Race I’ve ever been a part of, and I’m glad this is the last one,” Stewart told FOX Sports.
Stewart wasn’t the only unhappy All-Star.
“I was pretty confused right up until it was 13 laps to go, and then I knew, ‘Well, we’re racing from here to the end, and this is all the normal rules,’” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “But everything before that … I was out of my element.”
“I’ve never been this confused in a race car in my entire life,” Kenseth said. “I hope everybody watching understands, because I have no idea what happened ever since the first car pitted.”
“I’m in the sport and we’re confused, so how does the race fan keep up at times?” Denny Hamlin said.
But, Brad Keselowski, who dreamed up the new format, said he thought the race was a success.
“I don’t know how you can get much more compelling racing than what we saw today, so they need to get unconfused and enjoy the racing,” he said.
Joey Logano wasn’t complaining either after he took home the All-Star title and a check for $1 million.
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