Dale Earnhardt Jr. has two shots at getting in All-Star race

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Earnhardt Jr.  Mike McCarn
Mike McCarn
Earnhardt Jr.

CONCORD, N.C. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. has not qualified to be in the Sprint All-Star race tonight at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but he knows he will be in the main event one way or another.

He wants to make it as a top-two qualifier in the Sprint Showdown race. If not, he has the fan vote to fall back on.

It’s for drivers who haven’t won a race in the past two years, or drivers who haven’t won the All-Star race or series championship in the past 10 years.

“We’re going to work on trying to win our little (Showdown) races to try to make it in without the fan vote,” Earnhardt said. “We’d like to get in and allow someone else to have the fan vote. So, we’re just going to work hard and see what happens.”

Earnhardt’s 40-lap Show­down starts at 7:30 p.m. The 90-lap All-Star race for winners starts at 9.

Earnhardt won the All-Star race in 2000.

TRUCKS SERIES: Justin Lofton raced to his first NASCAR Truck Series victory, getting the jump on race leader Brad Keselowski on a late restart and holding on at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.

Lofton, who struggled with restarts earlier in night, became the fifth winner this year on the Truck Series. Keselowski finished second, and Todd Bodine was third.

Lofton, who had 15 top 10s in his previous 55 career Truck races, called the win “amazing,” adding that “it’s been a long time coming.”

Keselowski, looking to become the 24th driver to win in all three NASCAR national series, got bumped from behind by Ron Hornaday on one of the restarts and nearly got sideways.

POWER SURGE: IndyCar drivers rarely speak in unison when it comes to big issues.

After series officials gave the cars an extra boost in horsepower for practice Friday in Indianapolis, some drivers made a concerted pitch, pleading to keep the power boost for the May 27 race.

“Honestly, for me, it was actually better, the car seems to be more comfortable and yeah, I would love to have this kind of boost for the race,” three-time Indy winner Helio Castroneves said. “Hopefully, they change their mind and we go for that.”

The plan was to give drivers the power boost for Friday’s practice and the qualifying sessions Saturday and Sunday.

That hasn’t changed as race organizers prepare to fill the top 24 spots in the
33-car today.


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