Big Win for Dale Jr.  

Dale Earnhardt Jr. hasn’t won a race since 2008, and he knows that any win – including this weekend’s non-points NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race – would provide a huge boost.

“I think it would get people excited; it would get our team excited,” Earnhardt Jr. said Friday in the Charlotte Motor Speedway media center. “It would really help build confidence. I remember when we won here in 2000 how much confidence it gave me. Winning this kind of event would do wonders for our team.”

But before he can win the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, he’s got to make the field. Earnhardt Jr. will have to finish in one of the top two spots in the Sprint Showdown or win the Sprint Fan Vote to join the lineup for the all-star event. He had to rely on the fan vote to transfer to last year’s big event, and it’s a foregone conclusion that he would again win the fan vote.

“We’re working on trying to win our little race,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I’d like to allow someone else to have the fan vote.”

Earnhardt Jr. will have plenty of competition though, as 22 fellow drivers will be scrapping to make the All-Star Race and have a chance at the $1 million winner’s take. The 40-lap Showdown begins Saturday at 7 p.m., and the Sprint All-Star Race will take the green flag at approximately 9 p.m.

This year’s Sprint All-Star Race will introduce a tweaked format of four 20-lap segments followed by a final 10-lap sprint. The winner of each of the first four segments will line up in the first four positions prior to the final mandatory pit stop. Drivers will then line up for the final segment how they exit the pits from that final stop.

“I don’t think it matters how you stack it up; it comes down to the last segment,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I think the most popular question in the grandstand will be, ‘Which segment is this?’”

Special Colors at Sprint All-Star Race Weekend

As in previous years, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race will have several drivers sporting special paint and color schemes.

Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 will feature a red and white scheme with blue trim on the Lowe’s car. Teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. will showcase the black, orange and white colors of the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Foundation on his No. 88 Chevrolet. The No. 16 3M/American Red Cross car driven by Greg Biffle has a red, white and blue color scheme with stars.

Matt Kenseth’s machine features the blue and green colors of his new sponsor, Fifth Third Bank. Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy is featuring a new white and camouflage car, and defending Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart is also sporting a new camo scheme with the Wild Turkey Federation.