Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Could He Be out of All-Star Race Without Darlington Win?
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finds himself once again on the list of drivers that depend on the fan vote to guarantee a spot in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. A win at Darlington may be his only guarantee to be in the race.
Last year, just prior to the running of the legendary non-points race, Junior was announced as a participant in the race because of the fan vote.
The only other way to make the race, that pays $1 million to the winner, is to win or be a runner-up in the Sprint Showdown, a preliminary 40-lap race.
There are six other drivers who currently rank in the top 20 of the point standings who find themselves in the same position as Earnhardt.
Those six drivers are A.J. Allmendinger, Jeff Burton, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya and Martin Truex, Jr.
Junior Nation always stands strong behind their driver, but there is no guarantee that it will be enough to beat out the votes for some other driver on the list. Some may just presume he is a lock and not vote.
Earnhardt should be in the lead pack at Darlington when the checkered flag waves based on his string of six top-10 finishes.
His statistics for Darlington show three top-fives, seven top-10 finishes and an average finish of 15.3.
The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race becomes a fierce battle of the top drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The race is primarily made up of drivers who have won races in 2011 and 2012.
Drivers other than those listed above who are within the top 10 of the fan vote favorites are Bill Elliott, Bobby Labonte, Kenny Wallace and Michael Waltrip.
Darlington can be a wild-card track that comes down to survival of the driver who can best race the track that can reach out and ruin a driver's night.
It remains to be seen if Earnhardt can break his winless streak of 139 races. If he fails to do so, it may well be up to his loyal supporters to get him into the All-Star race.
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