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May 19, 2013

Sprint All-Star Race: Driver by Driver

Comments on each of the drivers in the Sprint All-Star race.

1. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevy

Started: 18th

After starting deep in the field after a mistake in qualifying, Johnson advanced to fifth after the second segment, second after the third segment and third after the fourth segment, putting him in good shape for the final pit stop. He came off pit road second behind Kasey Kahne for the final 10-lap dash. Once he got past Kahne, he ran away to become the first four-time winner of the All-Star race. He never led a lap until the final segment.

2. Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford

Started: Fifth

After a quiet night overall, he restarted fourth for the final 10-lap segment and finished second.

3. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota

Started: Fourth

Finished second in first segment, then won the second and third segments, putting himself in good position. But contact with Ryan Newman during the fourth segment changed his car for the worse. He came off third pit road third for the final dash.

4. Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Chevy

Started: Ninth

Finished fifth in first segment, then was just another car through the second and third. But when he took the lead from Kevin Harvick early in the fourth segment and got to clean air, he checked out for a while before Kurt Busch caught him to win the segment. Kahne was first off pit road and dueled with Jimmie Johnson for the lead early in the final segment before Johnson passed him.

5. Kurt Busch, No. 78 Chevy

Started: Second

After winning the first segment, Busch stayed on the track and didn’t pit. He fell off slightly in the second segment, finishing fourth. That ended his shot at the Bruton Smith million-dollar bonus, and guaranteed it wouldn’t be paid out this year. He rallied to finish second in segment three and first in segment four, giving him the best average finish in the four segments and putting him on first onto pit road before the final segment. But a slow pit stop pushed him back to fifth for the final 10-lap dash.

6. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota

Started: Seventh

Never made a run to the front, but a solid finish on a steady, if unspectacular night.

7. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Chevy

Started: 15th

Started fourth on the fourth segment, But that was about as much excitement as he could generate.

8. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevy

Started: 20th

A solid run after a start deep in the field.

9. Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota

Started: 16th

Struggled with the car all night, still got up to fifth at one point. Imagine if it had handled well.

10. Carl Edwards, No. 99 Ford

Started: First

Finished fourth in first segment, then inched up to third in the second. He stayed out and started second in the third segment, but that strategy didn’t work out.

11. Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Chevy

Started: 19th

Adjustments throughout the race were never enough to get to the front.

12. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevy

Started: 10th

Moved up to seventh after first segment, but was back to 11th after the second. Gordon had damage to the left side suffered in segment three, and restarted for the fourth segment at the back of the field after pitting twice.

13. Ryan Newman, No. 39 Chevy

Started: 11th

Contact with Kyle Busch caused a tire rub. Never recovered.

14. Tony Stewart, No. 14 Chevy

Started: 13th

Another frustrating night in a tough season so far.

15. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford

Started: Third

A bounce off the wall in the fourth segment sent him to pit road and brought out the yellow.

16. Ricky Stenhouse, No. 17, Ford

Started: 21st

A bounce off the wall and into the path of Mark Martin on Lap 23 put significant damage on the left side of his car. Never much of a factor.

17. Marcos Ambrose, No. 9 Ford

Started: 17th

Never got anything going on this night.

18. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Toyota

Started: Sixth

Finished third in first segment, then second in the second segment. He stayed out after the second segment, and on old tires fell from first to 13th in the third 20-lap segment. Never regained his early strength after that.

19. David Ragan, No. 34 Ford

Started: 14th

Ragan dropped even farther back early in the race and stayed at the rear of the pack the rest of the way. He eventually finished 19th and was never a factor.

20. Danica Patrick, No. 10 Chevy

Started: 22nd

Finished ninth in the qualifying race but advanced to the All-Star race by winning the fan vote. She couldn’t make her way past the tail end of the field through the first three segments. Was never a factor.

21. Mark Martin, No. 55 Toyota

Started: Eighth

In his 24th start in the All-Star race, Martin spun on the frontstretch after Ricky Stenhouse Jr. bounced off the wall and into him, bringing out the caution on Lap 24. He didn’t pit after the second segment, though, and started the third segment third. That strategy backfired, though, as he fell through the field. Didn’t finish the final laps of the last segment.

22. Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford

Started: 12th.

A part failure early in the first segment ended his night early. “Something just broke in the back half of the drive train, either the transmission or drive shaft gear – I’m not sure which one – but it’s one of those deals, unfortunately,” Keselowski said. “We’ll try to learn from it and move on.”

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