Gordon embraces aggressive All-Star strategy
Jeff Gordon knows only one strategy for NASCAR’s All-Star race scheduled Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“The All-Star race is kind of a win-or-nothing scenario and that’s not the case with the other races,” Gordon said. “I’ve always approached it as being aggressive.”
Drivers are more aggressive in the event that features Cup race winners since the start of the previous season because it does not offer points toward season standings while it pays first prize of $1 million.
“We push hard trying to win every race and this weekend is no different,” Gordon said. “The difference is there are no points on the line.”
Gordon and the other drivers in a field of 22 have another reason to be aggressive in the 90-lap race which will be divided into four 20-lap segments followed by a 10-lap finale. They are expected not to cruise because officials will use each driver’s average finish from the first four segments to determine the order in which they enter the pits for a mandatory stop before the final segment. Cars will start the final segment in the order they come out of the pits.
Another reason to go all out: there is a $1 million bonus for winning every segment.
The average finish twist and the bonus for sweeping are being tried for the first time in an effort to keep drivers from not racing their hardest in some segments. Last year, officials tried to do the same by rewarding the segment winners with starting position at the front for the final segment. The plan backfired when the early segment winners took it easy in the other segments.
“You won’t see guys driving any harder than you will on Saturday night,” Brad Keselowski said.” There is a huge purse on the line and I know a lot of drivers that could use an extra $2 million.”
A total of 19 drivers are already in the field. Three more, the top two finishers in a 40-lap preliminary race and the winner of a fan vote, will be added Saturday.
Qualifying, which includes three laps and a pit stop for each driver in the All-Star race, is slated for Friday. Also on the schedule is a 200-mile NASCAR Truck Series race.
AROUND THE REGION
With the All Star race hogging most of the attention on Saturday, Caraway Speedway and most other tracks in the region will take the night off.
Tommy Lemons Jr. won the 100-lap late model feature last Friday, with Garrett Campbell second and former Wallburg area resident Robert Tyler third. Jay Payne of Thomasville was eighth.
Ryan Brown took the Limited Late Model race with Carl Auman of High Point second. Josh Lowder won the Southern Modified Lite race with Austin Thompson of High Point third. Other winners: Jason Tutterow (Mini-Stock), Sean Grant (U-Car) and Brian Rose (Hornet).
A track that will be in action is Bowman Gray Stadium after a rainout last Saturday. A 100-lap Modified race that was postponed will be the feature. Also of note on the card is a 50-lap event that is the longest of the season for the Street Stock division.