NASCAR's All-Star Race is billed as a no-holds-barred, knock-out, drag-out, bare-knuckle street fight among the hottest stock car drivers for a $1 million prize. Anyone who watched this year's event after seeing Pole Day at IMS might wonder what all the fuss is about. The stories that unfolded this afternoon in Indiana included:
A popular second-year driver overcoming injuries and a car old enough for vintage racing getting into the field.
One powerhouse team, including Indy's winningest active driver, struggling to find speed.
Four part-time or one-off driver/team combinations securing starting spots in the top 9.
A second powerhouse team, including the series most marketable driver, the scion of its most famous family, and the series most recent winner/2010 Indy 500 highlight reel star unable to guarantee berths in the field.
A popular underdog scoring pole position in the "World's Most Important Race."
A third powerhouse team, defending winners of the 500 and last three championships, making uncharacteristic embarrassing mistakes that cost one driver a front-row starting spot and another a real shot at the pole.
All those suffering difficulties have another shot on Sunday's Bump Day. It should be one of the single most exciting days Indy car racing has seen in some time. No matter what happens, May 29th's 500 will feature the most interesting grid in years.