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DATE News (chronologically)
05/16/11
nassprint
Even with best car, Dale Jr. can't qualify for All-Star race  Despite now having the best car and crew in all of NASCAR, for the first time since, well, he’s been a Sprint Cup driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is not in the Sprint All-Star Race.

As a rookie in 2000, he qualified with a win at Texas Motor Speedway in April, just over a month before the all-star race. Then he won the all-star race – the first rookie to win it – to give him a 10-year exemption into the annual event.

Now those 10 years are up and without a win in 2010 or 2011, Earnhardt Jr. must run the Sprint Showdown qualifying race that precedes the main event Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The top two finishers in the Showdown qualify for the all-star race as well as the top vote-getter in a fan vote, provided that the driver finishes on the lead lap and has a drivable car following the Showdown.

As the sport’s most popular driver, Earnhardt Jr. appears the most likely winner of the fan vote.

“I’m not too worried about not being in the all-star race,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I ain’t worried about that. However that all works out it works out.

“I’m looking forward to showing up and getting my practice on and seeing how fast we can go and seeing what happens all night long.”

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