' I'm going to give it all I've got,' Dillon says
Richard Childress Racing has won four NASCAR Sprint All-Star Races, most recently in 2007 with Kevin Harvick. Dale Earnhardt won the event in 1987, which included the legendary "Pass in the Grass," and he also went on to claim the checkered flags in the 1990 and 1993 races.
Austin Dillon (above) will pilot Chassis No. 431 in the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This Chevrolet SS was utilized by the Gil Martin-led team in 2013 on three occasions, with Kevin Harvick earning a win at Kansas Speedway (October), a sixth-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway (October) and an eighth-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway (November). Friday night's non-points exhibition race, which serves as a qualifying event for Saturday's All-Star race, will mark Dillon's first appearance in the Sprint Showdown. The top-two finishers will earn a starting berth in the All-Star race. In addition, you can vote Dillon into the Sprint All-Star Race by visiting NASCAR.com/sprintfanvote.
"We're in the Sprint Showdown," Dillon said, "and we're giving all we've got, especially as far as cars and engines. We'll be pushing the limits. It's two 20-lap heat races and it will be a wild one, I'm sure. Everybody wants to get into the Sprint All-Star Race so they have a shot at earning that million dollar pay out. It means a lot to our team and our guys. We'll be fighting hard for every spot we can in the Sprint Showdown and see what we can get." If he gets into the race, "All of the winnings from my side of it I'm going to give back to the Armed Forces Foundation. We're going to be giving back to the military. They are the ones that allow us to race on the weekends. I hope you guys vote for me and we'll put on a good show in the race."
RCR's Paul Menard will pilot chassis No. 461 in the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This No. 27 Chevrolet SS was previously raced at Auto Club Speedway where Menard finished in the ninth position. Menard has six-career Sprint Showdown starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway. His best start of third came in 2011 and best finish of fourth took place in 2010 and 2013. The Wisconsin native has an average start of 11.5 and average finish of 13.7 in the NASCAR All-Star Race qualifying event. In 2012, Menard raced in the Sprint All-Star Race after qualifying by winning the Brickyard 400 (2011). He finished the non-points race 16th after starting in the seventh position. "The (Sprint) Showdown and All-Star weekend is always a good one since there are no points on the line. We can just race hard, have fun and gather some information for the Coca-Cola 600. A lot of families come out to watch during the Charlotte race weekends, so hopefully we can put the Serta / Menards Chevrolet into the All-Star race and put on a good show."
Driver Ryan Newman will drive chassis No. 441 on Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Chassis No. 441 has earned two top-10 finishes for Newman this season. It was utilized at Phoenix International Raceway (Start: 15th, Finish: 7th) and Darlington Raceway (Start: 7th, Finish: 10th).. Newman is eligible to race in the sport's $1 million exhibition event thanks to his 2002 All-Star win during his rookie season, a feat only accomplished by one other rookie driver. He also qualifies by way of last year's Brickyard 400 victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Saturday's event marks his 13th-straight appearance in the All-Star Race.
How does he approach the race? "I approach it like all the other races, it's a race to win. But, I think it's a race that carries a little more bragging rights to it. It is the All-Star Race and there is a million bucks on the line, so I wouldn't mind earning that payday. Regardless of the format or how the fans vote, the event provides you with a fair chance to win the race and that's why it's a lot of fun for us. It's like a championship, you have a chance. You just have to beat all the other guys doing it."