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Melillo’s Mind: Monster Energy All Star Race Aero Package, Hall of Fame Review, and Indy 500 preview

The All-Star race was this past weekend, and was the primary showcase of a potential new aero package for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in the future.

Kevin Harvick was victorious after the 70-lap event, which included many more passes for the lead than we’ve been used to for a while at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Now, I don’t intend to speak about the race itself, because it’s difficult to find new ways to describe the absolute domination that continues from the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford of Kevin Harvick, but I do want to talk about what we witnessed on Saturday night.

Last week, I specifically said that I didn’t really care about the All Star race, because it has been boring and uneventful for quite some time. I was dead wrong about this one though.

I was glued to my television set, and could not look away from the amazing racing we had the entire night. Yes, the cars were slowed down, but I definitely couldn’t tell, or I didn’t care, because the actual racing product was the best we’ve had in years, maybe even decades.

Let’s not jump ahead of ourselves, though, because although this race saw a lot of action, that doesn’t mean that they should just switch immediately. It could have been a fluke, and it could only be the solution for Charlotte Motor Speedway.

I think the package needs to be tested immensely, with random races selected throughout the season, and if we continue to have the same great action we did at the All Star, there is no doubt that a switch should occur as soon as possible.

With all that said, I’m a believer in intermediate cookie-cutters again, and that they can be made great again with the right plan executed.


Wednesday night saw the induction of five new members to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Jeff Gordon, Jack Roush, Roger Penske, Davey Allison, and Alan Kulwicki were all given top honors as the Class of 2019, with Gordon nearly voted in unanimously.

About two weeks ago, I wrote down who I thought would make it, and surprisingly, I picked three of the five; Gordon, Kulwicki, and Roush. I also had Joe Gibbs and Buddy Baker going in, but as it is every year, there are no wrong answers.

All nominees are Hall of Fame material, and I have no doubt that everyone nominated this year will make it in eventually.

It’s surprising to me that Jeff Gordon wasn’t unanimous. As big of an icon as Driver 24 was, with his four titles and 93 victories over the span of a 23 year career, with his contributions to the late 90’s popularity surge for NASCAR, it’s just baffling to me that even one person would have Gordon off of their ballot.

Regardless, The class this year is most deserving, and they join so many before them that made this sport what it is today.


By the time you are reading this, I’ll most likely be on the road, or already arrived in Indiana. This year, for the first time in my short life, I’ll be attending my first ever Verizon IndyCar Series event, and what a race to start… the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500!

I’m not going as media, even though I had the opportunity to do so. I still plan to write about it and take some pictures, but I want to experience this from a fan’s standpoint. I’m not an IndyCar reporter, but I do follow IndyCar weekly.

It’s incredible to me that James Hinchcliffe will not be racing this Sunday, as he was bumped out of the Top 33 qualifiers on Bump day over the weekend.

Hinchcliffe, to me, is one of the faces of the sport, and although he may not be IndyCar’s Dale Earnhardt, Jr., he is still a huge pillar of the sport, and would be like a Denny Hamlin or Clint Bowyer missing a big race.

Although Ed Carpenter dominated the Fast Nine Qualifying, I think that on Sunday, one of the Team Penske drivers will be victorious. Will Power has my vote, although Helio Castroneves will be tough to beat as he looks for his record fourth victory at the Brickyard.


Sean Gardner/Getty Images
NASCAR Media Group


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Justin Melillo View All

Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for

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