CONCORD, N.C. - Kasey Kahne made the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race because of the kindness of strangers. He didn't qualify by winning races or distinguishing himself on the track. He qualified because he's considered courteous and cute and middle-school girls squeal when he walks past.
Fans can vote for one driver via the Internet and text messages and they voted for him.
So Kasey Kahne is where NASCAR and "American Idol" meet.
And then he won the race.
Unfortunately, it's too late for a recount.
This race was dull.
Nobody could pass. One guy would get in front and stay in front. Lowe's Motor Speedway should have given fans a tip sheet: 101 things to do while waiting for one car to pass another.
It was a shock, frankly, because the all-star race is never dull. You know the format. The winner gets a $1 million. Points are not at stake. So the money is great and the consequences few.
Drivers historically use all their tricks to remove the guy in front of them because $1 million is enormous even to a rich guy and the customary courtesies no longer apply.
But nobody could pass. And in the final 25-lap segment the favorites and the stars faded and the race came down to Kahne and Greg Biffle. This proves that Cup races aren't fixed, because if races were fixed this one would not have come down to Kahne and Biffle.
The race had one chance to be interesting and his name is Kyle Busch.
Whatever juice was provided was provided by him.
Busch walked onto the stage to be introduced and was booed. He wore oversized opaque sunglasses during his introduction and they were booed. He offered fans his signature bow and it was booed. He extended his arms and they were booed. He flung his cap into the crowd and it was booed.
His crew joined him on stage and they bowed and were booed. They threw M&M's into the crowd, not at it, and the M&M's were booed.
Busch dominated the first segment in his M&M's Toyota and it was booed.
And then his engine betrayed him, and his crew couldn't fix it, and before the third segment they had to push it into the garage and finally the fans cheered.
What a waste.
Busch is to racing what Simon Cowell is to "American Idol." He is where instinct, arrogance and aggression meet. He is the racer the others least want to see in their rearview mirror.
At 23, he drives as if the track is his.
With the bad guy gone the race was not as good.
Look, I love this track and have loved the all-star race and love the coming week, when Food Lion Speed Street opens and racing rules and the Coca-Cola 600 begins.
But if the racing looks like it did Saturday, fans might vote to stay home.