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Auto notes: Drivers run for $1 million payday at All-Star race

Sat., May 17, 2014

It’s dash-for-cash, nothing on the line for NASCAR’s top drivers but a big payday.

The Sprint All-Star race begs the question: What would a driver do for a cool $1 million?

“If you can reach out and grab somebody you will get pretty aggressive for a million dollars,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won the race as a rookie in 2000. He drove for Dale Earnhardt Inc., the team owned by his father, and doesn’t believe he ever got his hands on the winning driver’s $500,000 purse.

“I don’t think I ever saw it,” he said. “I was driving for Daddy back then. He got all that money.”

The format for the annual All-Star race, held at Charlotte (North Carolina) Motor Speedway, often changes. The twist this year is that qualifying will be tonight, two hours before the race. It will consist of single-car runs of three laps with a mandatory four-tire pit stop.

The race is 90 laps, broken down over four 20-lap segments and one 10-lap sprint for the money.

But Matt Kenseth, winner of the 2004 race, doesn’t think the big purse gives drivers any more incentive to race hard.

“I think it’s about the same as every other week,” he said. “I think if you have a chance to win that race and you’re right down there to the end, you’re going to do everything you can to win that race. If you wreck, you’re not going to win. Everybody is going for it.”

Bowyer captures Sprint Showdown

Clint Bowyer has won the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway to advance into the $1 million All-Star Race.

AJ Allmendinger finished second to also advance into tonight’s main event.

The Sprint Showdown sends the top two finishers and the winner of a fan vote into the dash-for-cash. Josh Wise won the fan vote.

Busch adds to truck series dominance

Kyle Busch continued his dominance at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Truck Series, winning there for the fourth time in the last five years. Busch has won all three Truck Series races he has entered this season.

Stewart finally joins Twitter

Tony Stewart has joined Twitter, leaving Carl Edwards as the last major holdout in NASCAR.

Stewart sent his first Tweet on Friday night from Charlotte. It said: “Ok so here it is. I’m doing my part to combat global warming because now that I’m officially tweeting, hell is freezing over!”

Stewart had over 200,000 followers after his first tweet.

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