All-Star: GM Racing previedw

EVENT FACTS: * Event Name: Sprint Showdown/All-Star Race * Race Length: Showdown: Two 20 All-Star Race: Four 25 -lap segments * Green Flag: Qualifying 5:10 p.m. (EDT) May 16 Showdown: 7:30 p.m. (EDT) May 17 All-Star Race: 9:00 p.m. (EDT)...


* Event Name: Sprint Showdown/All-Star Race

* Race Length: Showdown: Two 20 All-Star Race: Four 25 -lap segments

* Green Flag: Qualifying 5:10 p.m. (EDT) May 16 Showdown: 7:30 p.m. (EDT) May 17 All-Star Race: 9:00 p.m. (EDT) May 17

Live Coverage: TV: SPEED TV; Radio: MRN, SIRIUS Satellite


* A total of nine (9) Impala SS drivers are qualified for the Sprint All-Star Race

* A Team Chevy driver has won 13 of the 23 All-Star Races run at Lowe's Motor Speedway

* Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Pennzoil Platinum Impala SS is the defending All-Star champion

* Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, has won three All-Star races, more than any other active driver

* Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, has two All-Star victories on his resume

* Mark Martin, No. 8 U.S. Army Impala SS, has won the All-Star twice

* Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard/Citizen Soldier/AMP Energy Impala SS, has one All-Star win to his credit

* Remainder of Team Chevy drivers qualified are + Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT&T Impala SS + Casey Mears, No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Impala SS + Martin Truex, Jr. No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Impala SS + Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS


PAT SUHY, GM RACING NASCAR GROUP MANAGER: "Charlotte is a fast mile and a half track. It's the fourth race with the Impala SS on a 1.5-mile oval.

"Finishing second in each of the first 3 wasn't fun, and our GM Racing engineers and our Chevy teams have been working hard to understand what it takes to change that. Everybody has been testing as much as they can and learning about some of the finer points of tuning this car to these kinds of tracks.

"With NASCAR controlling so much of how the bodies are configured, everybody has turned their attention to the underside of the car, looking at opportunities in both aerodynamics and chassis areas to find that edge.

"The Sprint Showdown and All Star races, aside from being an opportunity for teams to have a little fun and take home a big purse, is a good opportunity to do some fine tuning and validate what was learned during the test session a few weeks ago. The 2 long practice sessions and short race segments will help Team Chevy get ready for the points-paying Coca Cola 600 next weekend." TEAM CHEVY IN THE PENNZOIL PLATINUM VICTORY CHALLENGE:

A timed-competition among five top drivers who must demonstrate four essential skills of any victory celebration: a tire-smoking post-win celebration; spectacular donuts; precision driving into "Victory Lane;" and, as with anything in racing, speed.

Team Chevy drivers Harvick, Johnson and Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS will compete for bragging rights and a payday of $10,000 to a the charity of their choice on Saturday night prior to the start of the Sprint Showdown


In its fourth year, the event showcases the talent of the over-the-wall crews for each of the teams eligible for the All-Star Race. A total of 24 teams will compete Thursday, May 15 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. The event begins at 7 p.m. EDT and will be televised at 9 p.m. EDT the same evening on SPEED.

Nine Team Chevy teams will compete for the honors of the best crew on pit road: No. 07 Richard Childress Racing (RCR); No. 1 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI); No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports (HMS); No. 8 DEI; No. 24 HMS; No. 29 RCR; No. 31 RCR; No. 48 HMS and No. 88 HMS


* KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 PENNZOIL PLATINUM IMPALA SS: How big of a fan are you of these All-Star events? "I think these races are very important. It's our All-Star event. You have to win a race throughout the year to get in and it's the best of the best competing against each other. That makes it a lot of fun for us and the fans. We tested there a couple weeks ago and I really feel we're ready to defend our All-Star win." Do you like the uniqueness of team involvement for qualifying? "If we win the race, we'll take all the money and split it up between the guys because they are really part of the reason why you win. They've worked just as hard for this race, if not harder, than they have at any other race. It means a lot to them, too."

* JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS: "I think the All-Star race is a fantastic event. We all look forward to it because of the excitement, the prestige, the bragging rights and the million dollars that goes to the winner. There are no points on the line which means there is less pressure on the teams, but it seems there is more excitement surrounding the event. "You just have fun and race hard. "Most importantly, though, I think it's a great race for the fans. You hope it's a great race for them because that is really what this event is all about. It's sort of giving back to the fans for their support and everything they do for us."

* JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS: Going Into The All-Star Where There Are No Points And It's All Money; Do You Take Extra Chances When You're In The Race Car?"If you are in the right position, absolutely. If you're running around seventh or eighth, there is no need to take chances and tear up a race car. But if you're up there racing for a million bucks, absolutely."

Looking Back On The All-Star Events, Have You Ever Made A Real Bonehead Move In The Excitement Of It All? "I was caught up in a big wreck and ran into someone, but I don't think I've started anything. I've won it a couple of times. We've always been pretty competitive in that event, so I haven't had any major issues. I want to say we lost one somehow and I'm trying to remember how we lost it. We dominated the first couple of segments and then ended up second or third in the end of the final segment. I can't remember what that was though."

* MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS: "The All-Star Race is one of the coolest events of the season. It's a race where all the teams can throw the points out the window and just go for it. I've always enjoyed racing in the event and we've been fortunate enough to come out on top on a couple of occasions. The win in '98 was a huge surprise, because we were running in second and Jeff (Gordon) ran out of gas. The win a couple of years ago was really awesome and one of the highlights of my career. We didn't have the best car in the field that night, but just really let it all hang out and went for it. We were able to get in the lead and we just never gave it up. "

* DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/CITIZEN SOLDIER/AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS: On The Gray Ghost Scheme: "I had a lot of input into this paint scheme. Over my career I would like to pay respect to the heritage of this sport. Buddy Baker is someone I respect tremendously, and I loved that car he ran in the 1980 Daytona 500. When we were thinking of ideas for the all-star race, I asked for something like this car. The biggest difference is that NASCAR doesn't let us run chrome numbers anymore, but believe me, I asked."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick , Casey Mears , Jimmie Johnson , Martin Truex Jr. , Clint Bowyer , Buddy Baker , Mark Martin
Teams Richard Childress Racing , Hendrick Motorsports