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Martin, Johnson, Gordon qualify in top 12 for All-Star event

Martin, Johnson, Gordon qualify in top 12 for All-Star event

CONCORD, N.C. – Mark Martin was the top-qualifier among his Hendrick Motorsports teammates on Friday and scored the fifth starting spot for Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

His teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon round out the top 12; they’ll line up 11th and 12th, respectively for the 100-lap exhibition event, which is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET on SPEED. 

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 13th in the qualifying event that precedes the All-Star race, and that race will begin at 7:30 p.m., also on SPEED.

Martin will drive the No. 25 Farmers Insurance “Throwback”/ Chevrolet this weekend in honor of the 25th year since that number’s debut with Hendrick Motorsports. Martin is a two-time all-star champion, and his first victory occurred in 1998 after he started fifth and led 31 laps. He also won in 2005 after starting from the outside pole position and leading 24 laps. He is one of just six drivers to post multiple all-star victories.

Johnson, who is driving the No. 5 Lowe’s Chevrolet this weekend, will start Saturday’s race in 11th. In nine All-Star Race starts, Johnson has collected six top-five finishes, including two victories (2003, 2006). Johnson will drive a special No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet in this Saturday's All-Star Race to promote 5 percent off every day or special financing on purchases over $299 on Lowe's Home Improvement's consumer credit card purchases.

Gordon will line up 12th in his No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet and has a chance at history during the exhibition event. A three-time All-Star winner (1995, 1997 and 2001), he is tied with Dale Earnhardt for most victories in NASCAR’s annual non-points event.

Earnhardt drove his No. 88 The Dale Jr. Foundation/VH1 Save the Music/AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet to collect the 13th starting spot in the Showdown qualifying session. Earnhardt will make his first career appearance in the qualifier, and has three opportunities to make the ensuing All-Star event. He either must finish first or second in the Showdown or receive the fan vote, which will be announced after the Showdown is finished. Voting continues on until 5 p.m. ET prior to Saturday’s events.

In 11 appearances in the non-points all-star event, Earnhardt has scored one win, three top-five finishes and nine top-10s.