The annual NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star race is set for Saturday (May 16) at Lowe's Motor Speedway, and 18 drivers -- past All-Star race winners, Cup points-race winners in the past year and Cup champions from the past decade -- are locked into the main-event field.
More than 20 other drivers are hoping to earn a spot in the race via at first- or second-place finish the undercard Sprint Showdown or a fan vote.
Several drivers are taking extra measures to get fans to vote for them. AJ Allmendinger, who raced his way into the All-Star main event last year by winning the Showdown, gave away pizzas and "Vote for AJ" t-shirts at Talladega last month and his wife, Lynne, and yellow lab, Misty, have been seen around the infield wearing "Vote 4 my hubby/daddy" t-shirts. Allmendinger, above, even has his friend David Reutimann, another driver needing fan votes, sporting a “Vote for AJ” shirt.
“Giving away the shirts and Hunt Brothers pizzas have been a lot of fun but the best moment so far is giving David Reutimann one of my “Vote for AJ” shirts," Allmendinger said in a team release this week. "There’s a secret a lot of you don't know. Reutimann has a lot of my merchandise in his motorhome closet. I’m serious, he has a real man crush on me. He wears me out for hats all the time. I’m not trying to stir anything up, but I think his wife and kids are going to vote for me! Can’t wait til he sees this quote in the paper.”
Two of Allmendinger's teammates at Richard Petty Motorsports have taken their fan vote bid in a more charitable direction. Reed Sorenson said he'll donate his race winnings to Ronald McDonald House Charities if he transfers into the race through the fan vote. RPM driver Elliott Sadler, left, said he'll rent and set up a dunk booth outside of Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., prior to the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24. Sadler himself will man the booth for one hour and donate and proceeds raised in that one hour to Speedway Children’s Charities.
“Race fans should vote Elliott Sadler into the All-Star Race because I’m a good race car driver, I like to have fun with the fans and I’m the best looking driver out there. I’m just goofing around … kinda," Sadler said in a team release. "But honestly, I think it would be a great honor to represent the race fans in the All-Star Race."
Allmendinger appreciates his teammates' gestures, but he still wants your vote.
“The fans just have to vote for me," Allmendinger said. "I know there are guys who are going to do funny stuff or donate money to a great cause. But I have a wife and dog to support and I desperately need to get voted into the race. Elliott is using a dunking tank, Reed is donating his prize money, (Joey) Logano has a big corporate sponsor behind him. I’m kind of a charity case. If you vote for me you will be helping out mankind. Yes, I’m begging.”
Go here to vote for Allmendinger, Sadler or Sorenson or another driver.
-- Michele Vincze
Photos: MCT (top), Getty Images (bottom)