Earnhardt, Johnson finish All-Star race in top six
CONCORD, N.C. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson finished Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race inside the top six, while their Hendrick Motorsports teammates were impacted by different incidents. Kasey Kahne, who won segments two and three, brushed the wall in segment four and was scored 15th. Jeff Gordon, fast from the very beginning, was collected in a separate incident early in segment four that concluded his run in the exhibition event. He was scored 17th.
Here is a look at the race by segment:
Segment one: The first 20-lap segment was uneventful, but Gordon and Kahne used the time to improve their positions. Gordon started fourth and finished the first session running second, while Kahne improved from seventh to fourth. Their Hendrick Motorsports teammates Johnson and Earnhardt wrapped up the segment in sixth and eighth, respectively. During the ensuing caution period, the four Hendrick Motorsports teammates stopped for four tires and fuel. The four-tire call cost the teammates some position back on-track.
Segment two: At the drop of the green flag, the Hendrick Motorsports teammates maintained their position inside the top 10 despite two on-track spins. Kahne was the biggest mover of the 20-lap segment, improving to take the lead on Lap 35. When the segment ended, Kahne’s teammates were scored sixth (Johnson), seventh (Gordon) and eighth (Earnhardt). All four drivers hit pit road during the yellow-flag intermission for tires and fuel. Earnhardt’s team improved six positions after a two-tire call, while Kahne lost three due to a four-tire decision. Johnson and Gordon also opted for four tires during the stop. They returned to line up behind some teams that opted for two and others that stayed on track.
Segment three: Kahne restarted eighth but was strong early on four tires. He improved to third within the first three circuits of the third 20-lap feature. By Lap 46, Kahne was slipping by Brad Keselowski for second and challenging Jamie McMurray for first. Kahne became the new leader on Lap 48, while his Hendrick Motorsports teammates remained inside the top 10 (Earnhardt in sixth, Johnson in seventh and Gordon ninth). Kahne stretched out his lead to 1.5 seconds before winning the third segment. His teammates wrapped that 20-lap run inside the top 10: Johnson (sixth), Earnhardt (seventh) and Gordon (eighth). During the ensuing pit stops, Johnson’s team picked up three spots thanks to a two-tire call. Kahne again lost track position but remained committed to four tires as did Earnhardt and Gordon.
Segment four: Johnson restarted segment four in third, but immediately struggled for track position. Meanwhile, Gordon was collected in an incident in Turn 3 that unfortunately sidelined his No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS. After the ensuing restart, Kahne’s strong run was impacted when he made contact with the wall. He radioed his team that he might have hit oil on the track. “Sorry guys,” Kahne told his team. “I can’t believe that happened.” At the close of the segment, Earnhardt led his Hendrick Motorsports teammates in eighth. Johnson was scored 11th and Kahne in 12th. Kahne’s track position was further impacted after a speeding penalty on pit road. But the No. 5 team used the extra time to address the damage to the Time Warner Cable Chevrolet SS.
10-lap shootout: Before the final 10-lap shootout, every team was required to make a four-tire pit stop. Johnson left pit road in fifth, followed by Earnhardt in sixth. Kahne used the mandatory four-tire stop to further address damage. Kahne returned to the track in 15th for the restart. At the drop of the green flag, Earnhardt, Johnson and Kahne struggled to make up track position. Earnhardt improved to fourth just before the white flag waved. Johnson crossed the finish line sixth, ahead of Kahne in 14th and Gordon, who was scored 17th.