CONCORD, N.C. – Jeff Gordon does not approach Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway any differently than the 36 events that comprise the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. It’s pointless.
Gordon, whose three All-Star event wins (1995, 1997 and 2001) ties him with Dale Earnhardt for most all-time, will have the same mindset entering this Saturday’s race that he had last week. And the week before that.
“Every week we’re racing and pushing as hard as we can to try to win the race or get the best finish possible,” said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont “20 Years” Chevrolet. “It doesn’t matter if points are on the line or not. I don’t approach the All-Star race any different than I do any other race.
“However, it is a win-or-nothing kind of situation. If we don’t win, then we don’t lose any points – so you can kind of leave (the track) with a smile on your face.”
Not only will Gordon battle an all-star lineup, he will also need to conquer the tough 1.5-mile North Carolina track.
“There are so many challenges this track brings because it’s so fast and because of the multiple grooves,” said Gordon. “It’s a fast race track with a pretty hard tire, so it’s just trying to get the balance of the car right. Last time we were here, we were good on three-quarters of the track but struggled getting into Turn 1.
“It really hurt us from being more competitive.”
The annual non-points race has had many memorable moments since its inception. And for Gordon, there have been both bad and good – even in the same night.
“We’ve won all three segments, and battled Darrell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt for the victory,” said Gordon. “But we’ve also run out of gas while leading on the last lap.
“We’ve also won in a backup car after wrecking the primary in turn one on lap one. They dropped the green (flag) that night and it just started pouring, and several of us wrecked. But NASCAR allowed us all to pull out our backup car. We knew we had a chance (to win) as long as we had a race car.
“The All-Star Race is always pretty wild and crazy.”
And memorable. And pointless.