In the News--Polls Still OpenMay 14, 2009
Polls still open for All-Star field
CONCORD - There's a back door into Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Well, actually, there are three. Most of the field is set, but the first two finishers in the preliminary race, the Sprint Showdown, will join the All-Star field.
One driver, however, earns his way in via a fan vote conducted by the race and series sponsor, Sprint. Voting via www.sprint.com/speed continues right up to the announcement of the winner on Saturday. Fans may also vote via the Sprint Experience, an interactive display, at the track or by texting "NASCAR" to 777 on Sprint phones.
The fan vote is turning some of NASCAR's finest into amateur politicians. Many are seeking votes, none more so than A.J. Allmendinger.
Allmendinger has been giving away pizzas (Hunt Brothers pizzas, to be exact) and "Vote for A.J." T-shirts. He's also got a knack for sound bites.
"There's a secret a lot of you don't know," Allmendinger deadpanned. "(Fellow driver David) 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."
Whether or not he wins the vote, suffice it to say that David Letterman missed out this week.
"The fans just have to vote for me," said Allmendinger. "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 (Sadler) is using a dunking tank, Reed (Sorenson) is donating his prize money, (Joey) Logano has a big corporate sponsor (Home Depot) behind him. I'm kind of a charity case. If you vote for me, you will be helping out mankind. Yes, I'm begging."
According to a Sprint press release, the top 10 entering the final week were, in alphabetical order, Allmendinger, Bill Elliott, Logano, Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya, David Ragan, Reutimann, Sadler, Martin Truex Jr. and Michael Waltrip.
Oh, by the way, the winner of the fan vote a year ago, Kasey Kahne, wound up winning the Sprint All-Star Race.