Early fireworks on NASCAR All-Star night in Charlotte

Early fireworks on NASCAR All-Star night in Charlotte
The pace car comes down pit row for the final restart of Stage 1 of the Open race.

By David Rogers. May 18, 2019. CONCORD, NC — After putting on four tires during a caution with two laps to go in the first stage of the Monster Energy Open race-in event, William Byron made short work of the field ahead of him on the restart. The first stage win qualified Byron as the first “extra” driver to be added to the All-Star field. The final lap of Stage 1 was the only lap that Byron led — and the only one he needed to lead.

COVER IMAGE: Hey, don’t wast that fuel, I might need it at the end! All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News

Stage 2 of the Open may have been the most thrilling for the fans in the grandstands and watching on TV. First, pole sitter Daniel Hemric and Ryan Preece got into a “spat” toward the end of the second stage, with Preece appearing to exact a measure of revenge in spinning Hemric across the infield after the pole-sitter drifted up in front of Preece a short while earlier and force him to brush the wall. At the time of the dust-up, the two NASCAR drivers were in contention for the stage win, battling for third and trying to move up.

Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart is retiring this year as a Panther.

Once the race restarted the second stage immediately went into overtime — and ended in thrilling fashion.  In a car bearing the historic #43, Bubba Wallace outdueled the #41 of Daniel Suarez to win Stage 2 and advance to the All-Star race. Taking a page from Byron’s success in the first stage, Suarez took four new Goodyear tires when the race when under caution after the Preece-Hemric brouhaha, but Wallace effectively blocked the Stewart-Haas Mustang at the end of the stage that saw Suarez’ hot rod spinning into and through the infield grass.

Gettin’ busy on pit row!

Both Byron and Wallace sat out the third and final stage, leaving it to Kyle Larson to win the third stage and be declared the winner of the Open in his Chip Ganassi Racing-owned Chevrolet. It is the second career victory for Larson in the non-points event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He first won in 2016.

Driving the #88, Alex Bowman was voted by the fans to be the fourth “race-in” driver added into the the 2019 Monster Energy All-Star Race.

About The Author

As Editor and Publisher of Blowing Rock News, David Rogers has chosen a second professional career instead of retirement. For more than 35 years, he served in the financial services industry, principally in institutional equity research. He grew up in the oilfields north of Bakersfield, California and was a high school English major and honors student. From an economically disadvantaged family background, he worked his way through college (on grounds crew and in dining hall, as well as advertising sales for college newspapers), attending Johnston College at the University of Redlands, Claremont McKenna College, and California State University, Bakersfield. Other jobs to pay for college included a Teamsters Union job in South Central Los Angeles, a roustabout in the central California oilfields, and moving sprinkler pipe and hoeing weeds in the cotton fields west of Bakersfield. Rogers' financial services industry career took him from Bakersfield to La Jolla and San Diego, then to Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Newport Beach and Charlotte before arriving in the High Country in 2000 to take a volunteer position coaching the rugby team at Appalachian State University and write independent stock market research. He spent three years as a senior financial writer for a global financial PR firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Beijing, Tel Aviv, and Frankfort (Germany). Rogers is the author of "The 90% Solution: Higher Returns, Less Risk" (2006, John Wiley & Co., New York). He is married to wife Kim (Jenkins Realtors), and shares in the joy provided by her three grown children and five grandchildren.

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