CONCORD, N.C. – The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, won by Jamie McMurray, was a 135-mile event chopped into five short segments.
The upcoming Coca-Cola 600 is a four-hour marathon known for having green-flag runs longer than the entire All-Star Race.
So was there anything that could be learned from the exhibition that translates to next weekend? Here's a look at four possibilities:
1. The Chip Ganassi Racing cars should be recognized as contenders
Anyone who said McMurray was his or her pick to win the All-Star Race was either 1) a liar or 2) had their pants on fire.
McMurray's win was stunning. If it's possible to have an underdog among All-Stars, it was McMurray. Sure, he'd won some big races in the past – including at Charlotte – but no one could have predicted he'd win the All-Star Race (where he'd never led a single lap in seven previous events).
So how did it happen? It seems Chip Ganassi Racing has finally improved this year after several false starts since its last truly successful season in 2010.
McMurray's team has benefited from the addition of crew chief Keith Rodden, who had much success as Kasey Kahne's longtime engineer.
And exciting rookie Kyle Larson already has shown speed in the team's other car, which didn't make the All-Star Race but was strong in practice.
"I feel like this year we've been pretty good, we just need to get better – and I feel like we've been getting better on the track every week," Rodden said.
With Ganassi's IndyCar entries shut out of the Fast Nine in Indianapolis 500 qualifying, the team owner might have as good of a chance to get a Memorial Day Weekend win at Charlotte as Indy.
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is driving a dump truck
After such a strong start to the season – including a Daytona 500 win and six top-five finishes overall – Dale Earnhardt Jr. said on the team radio he felt like he's been driving a "damn dump truck" for the last two weeks.
That dump truck was good enough to get a fifth-place finish at Kansas and a fourth-place result in the All-Star Race (he credited attrition), but Earnhardt said afterward the car never really handled to his liking.
"We need to improve a little bit, and I think we understand that and we're going to work hard all week," Earnhardt said, adding he was "pretty confident" the team would make the necessary setup changes.
Still, it's not a good sign that the sensation of driving an overly tight car has come at two 1.5-mile tracks – especially with the longest race of the year up next.
Earnhardt could be in for a frustrating night on Sunday if the No. 88 team can't figure out why his car hasn't felt right lately.
3. Carl Edwards' contract situation isn't slowing him down
NASCAR's biggest free agent is Edwards, who has been mum about where he might drive next season. But even as the speculation reaches a crescendo – will he stay at Roush Fenway Racing or bolt for Joe Gibbs Racing? – Edwards and his team didn't show any signs of cracking in the All-Star Race.
In fact, his pit crew elevated him from fifth to first on the final pit stop and gave him a shot to win the $1 million -- until McMurray simply out-drove him in the laps following the restart.
"I wouldn't have been in that position if it weren't for my pit crew," Edwards said. "I just hate that I wasn't able to take what they did – their skill set – and turn it into a win."
Still, just being in contention is a positive sign for the rest of Edwards' season. He's already in the Chase – thanks to a win at Bristol Motor Speedway in March – but showing strength at a place like Charlotte could be the start of a much-needed turnaround for Roush on the intermediate tracks.
But even if Roush's cars improve, is it already too late to keep Edwards?
4. Never underestimate the power of the Internet
Many in the NASCAR community were floored when unheralded Josh Wise beat Danica Patrick for the All-Star Race fan vote. Wise went on to finish 15th – a solid result for badly underfunded Phil Parsons Racing – but his mere presence in the race was the bigger victory for the team.
Wise is backed by the Dogecoin virtual currency community on Reddit.com, whose users voted day and night – some for 24 hours straight at times – to get their favorite driver in the race. The result was an extra $86,411 Wise's team would not have had – money that might not mean much to a big team but could go a long way for a small one.
Though their next venture together might not be until Talladega Superspeedway's October race – Dogecoin car T-shirts are being sold to fund the effort – Wise's "shibe" friends could now turn their attention to something else: NASCAR's Most Popular Driver Award.
Earnhardt, whose popularity is unquestioned, has won the fan-voted award for the last 11 years. But with Reddit behind him, could the underdog Wise pull off his biggest upset yet?