Classic falls short

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:16 AM ET

Motor-racing fans face a rare weekend where there isn't a single event that counts in any of the big three series -- NASCAR Sprint Cup, Formula 1 and the IndyCar series.

And only NASCAR will have any kind of race at all, with the all-star mid-season classic at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night.

F-1 won't get back on track until next week in Turkey while the IndyCar teams will attempt to avoid the rain to get practices in at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for next weekend's Indy 500.

So the focus of our attention will be on Bruton Smith's 1.5-mile banked oval in Concord, N.C., where $1 million US will be on the line for the winner of Saturday's race.

But even that event is sullied somewhat by NASCAR's arcane method of choosing who races in its all-star deal. Except for one driver voted in by the fans, there are only 18 out of the 43 pilots or so in the circuit who are eligible for the big prize.

First in line are the drivers who won races this year and last year. Secondly, drivers who are past Sprint Cup champions in the last 10 years. Thirdly, drivers who have won the all-star race in the past 10 years and then the first and second-place drivers from the Sprint Showdown held prior to the big race. Finally, the driver voted in by the fans.

The format leaves some impressive names off of the invite list, including current top-12 drivers such as Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton, Greg Biffle and Martin Truex Jr.

If the Chase for the Championship were to start tomorrow each of those four drivers would be in the post-season tournament, but according to current NASCAR rules they aren't considered all stars.

NASCAR bosses will say that it is next to impossible to have a selection system that pleases everyone, but how can you defend a process that allows a start and parker such as Bobby Labonte -- who hasn't visited victory lane since 2002 at Miami Homestead -- into the all star show when he currently sits 33rd out of 43 in points, while Biffle sits on the sidelines in seventh spot in the standings.

Strange as it may seem, Montreal's Patrick Carpentier is eligible to try to make the $1-million race via the Sprint Showdown, but does not have a ride this season.

Finish lines

Mercedes has decided it will not appeal Michael Schumacher's 20-second penalty for passing Fernando Alonso on the final lap at the Monaco Grand Prix that dropped the seven-time world champion to 12the place from sixth in the race ... Brian Vickers, who was replaced by Casey Mears in the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota last weekend at Dover after he was hospitalized with blood clots, could return to Sprint Cup action as early as Sunday, the team said on Tuesday ... Ron Fellows will be back behind the wheel of the No. 2 Cragar Wheels Corvette at Mosport International Raceway this week for the SCCA World Challenge race. "It's an opportunity for me to compete at Mosport during their 50th anniversary season celebration and hopefully put on a show for the fans. I know there will be lots of Corvette enthusiasts there and we'll do our best to make them happy," Fellows said in a release ... Greg Sacks will drive the No. 88 Nationwide Series Chevrolet in the Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona in July joining a JR Motorsports stable that will include Steve Arpin in the No. 7 Chevrolet and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a special tribute No. 3 Wrangler Chevrolet.


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