Why Every Vote Counts
It’s time for me to start campaigning again to get my driver, AJ Allmendinger, voted into the 2011 All-Star Race coming up on May 21st. The website for voting opened last week (see the link at top right) and I’ve already put in a few hundred votes in that amount of time. I dedicate every spare minute that I can to logging votes under my numerous email accounts hour after hour.
A couple people have asked me why I am bothering this year considering the fact that AJ is going up against NASCAR’s most popular driver – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. The fan vote will most certainly go to the driver of the #88 HMS Chevy. A few people even expressed surprise that the All-Star format wasn’t changed to allow the arguably biggest name in the sport an automatic berth into the race. But in my opinion, they didn’t need to change the rules. The fan vote was already written into the script, and you can pretty much mark it in stone that Junior will get the most votes. So why waste time voting for anyone else?
Before I answer that question, first let me say that I hope with everything that I’ve got that AJ won’t need the fan vote. Every driver is thankful to their fans when they win that vote and get to race in the All-Star, but no driver wants to get in that way. They want to earn it by either winning a race or finishing in the top two positions in the Showdown. But despite not wanting to get in through the vote, the drivers know that not only do they want to race, they also owe it to their sponsors to try and earn a spot in the big race through any means possible - so that means campaigning.
I’ve named one reason why a driver would want their fans to vote for them – their sponsor. But why would a fan want to put so much energy into a seemingly pointless task? Well one reason is actually the same as it is for why the driver wants it – for the sponsor. Everyone knows how much effort I put into getting fans to send supportive emails to AJ’s sponsor Best Buy last fall. This campaign is no different. As a fan of AJ, it is my duty to support his sponsor in every way possible. I shop at Best Buy and I encourage every one I know, NASCAR fan or not, to do the same. That company has invested a lot of money into AJ’s career and they deserve my support in return. It’s in their best interest to have their car in the All-Star race, so I’m going to do everything I can to make that happen.
Another reason for voting every chance I get is that, while Junior getting the most votes is all but inevitable, he might not need them or be able to use them. If by chance Junior wins a race between now and the All-Star weekend or happens to race his way into the big show during the qualifying race, those votes for him are thrown out the window. And if he doesn’t get in on his own, there is also the possibility that he won’t be able to use the fan vote because an accident in the Showdown race could take him out of the eligibility. Let’s not forget how crazy that race is and that one of the criteria for being the fan vote winner is finishing on the lead lap of the Showdown.
So yes, Junior will almost certainly get the most votes from fans, but that doesn’t mean that it is useless for AJ fans to vote as often as possible. Getting the most votes doesn’t guarantee that Junior will race in the All-Star race. Besides, even if it does turn out that way and Junior is able to use that vote, it doesn’t mean I wasted my time voting. Because the absolute biggest reason why I’m voting and campaigning is because there is a chance, no matter how slim it might be, that I can make the difference. This is the only time all year long that fans get a say in what happens to their driver. When those votes are tallied, I want to be able to say that I did everything I could – that I gave it everything I had. AJ does that every weekend on the track, so shouldn’t I pay it back? The answer is yes.