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Nextel All-Star Challenge Viewers Guide
There's a big difference between the Nextel All-Star Challenge and All-Star games in other sports. For example, I'm more interested in the slam dunk contest than I am the NBA All-Star Game. I can watch about a quarter of the NFL's Pro Bowl. It's cool that it's in Hawaii, but I don't think anybody really plays that hard.
Who to WatchThere is no way to predict a winner because, remember, Michael Waltrip had never even won a Cup race before and he won the 1996 all-star race. He just drove by everybody at the end of the race, and that night, he was the best of the all-stars. That's what makes it fun and so compelling. Joe Nemechek could win and none of us would be surprised. Jimmie Johnson dominated the 600 there last May, but does that mean he's got more of a shot than Kasey Kahne to win? Absolutely not. I'll make one prediction. In a race as wild and crazy as the Nextel All-Star Challenge, it wouldn't surprise me if Greg Biffle won. Not because he has three wins this year, but it's the kind of race in which a driver who isn't afraid to let it all hang out is so dangerous. That makes him a threat.
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What to Watch
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Finish LineIf you are running in the top five, and you know you've got a great racecar, do you go for the win or do you bring it home in the top five and save it for the 600? Each team has its own agenda, and a lot of teams take their best Charlotte piece to the Nextel All-Star Challenge now. Some teams say they're going to experiment a little bit for next week's Coca-Cola 600 (next Sun., 5 p.m. ET on FOX), but it all depends on how badly the driver wants to go for the win and risk bringing the car home in a basket or get a good finish, load up the truck, buff it out at the shop and come back for the 600.
NASCAR on FOX and SPEED Channel host and reporter Steve Byrnes has covered racing for more than 20 years, and he gives kids a close look at a real stock car and its driver with Ryan's Racecar, a 30-minute video/DVD. For more information, go to RyansRacecar.com