The Winston

Did you know that this weekend is the craziest NASCAR race of the year? Saturday night is the NASCAR Monster Energy All Star Race—as a true NASCAR OG—something I prefer to refer to as The Winston. The Winston is a non-points event (it doesn’t count for or against a team’s yearly accumulation of championship points), where competitors are handsomely rewarded for winning and nothing else. 

The Winston has created some of the most memorable moments in NASCAR history—year after year—and I expect this year will not be any different. I love The Winston for many reasons, and only some of them are because of the on-track carnage that has become tradition. Eighteen years ago, I left my job at NASCAR headquarters in Daytona Beach, Florida, and joined the production team responsible for producing the opening ceremonies for almost every NASCAR race, including the biggest and baddest one of them all. This is the one where we launched more pyrotechnics than what should be mechanically possible. It was the event where the crew members were as big of a part of the production as the drivers. This was the show that the fans counted on being ridiculously awesome—and the only one that kicked off after the sun had set (this is cool because of all of the WWE-style lighting tricks you can pull off once it gets dark enough to make an impact).

Taking all of these variables into consideration coupled with a huge production budget made for an event guy’s dream come true. Whether it was the Winston Wall, The Sprint Palm Pre-Launch, or the Monster Energy Stunt Show, this event has always been, and hopefully always will be, a night where big brands loosen up and show off in front a hometown NASCAR crowd.

If you have never attended a NASCAR race before, this is the one you should (give me a call and I will hook you up next year). However, make sure you tune into the race broadcast. The race is short enough to keep your attention the entire time and there isn’t much to understand other than everyone wants to be up front. I am excited to watch the production that my former teammates at CSM will undoubtedly rock. And I look forward to the best night of racing this year! (I apologize in advance to my friends at Daytona International Speedway, ISM Raceway, and Texas Motor Speedway that would likely argue this point!)