Saturday night’s Monster Energy All-Star Race will mark Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s final appearance in the $1 million-to-win race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The all-star race is big for all the NASCAR teams because most of them are based near Charlotte and an awful lot of bragging rights go to the driver and team who win in their own backyard.
Earnhardt won this race as a rookie and would like nothing better than to cap off his final year with a second all-star victory.
Here’s a complete history of Earnhardt’s all-star appearances since his rookie season of 2000:
The Winston, 2000
Earnhardt surprised the NASCAR community — and delighted his huge fan base — when he won the all-star race as a rookie, driving the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet. It was a huge win for both the driver and his father, the team owner. The winner’s purse that night was $516,400.
The Winston, 2001
Starting 15th in the field, Earnhardt and his DEI Chevy made it up to seventh place. The race was won by Jeff Gordon, who scored his third and final all-star victory.
For the second time in three years, the all-star was won by a rookie, as Ryan Newman put Roger Penske’s Ford in Victory Lane. But Earnhardt gave Newman a good run for his money, finishing second, 0.158 seconds behind in his DEI Chevy.
photo by Robt.LeSieur
The Winston, 2003
Eliminated after the second segment, Earnhardt finished 17th in the 24-car field. To date, that remains his worst all-star finish. The race was won by second-year driver Jimmie Johnson.
Nextel All-Star Challenge, 2004
The first all-star race with Nextel branding saw Earnhardt and the No. 8 DEI Chevrolet finish fifth behind winner Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart and Earnhardt’s teammate, Michael Waltrip.
Mark Martin scored a dominating victory in the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford over Elliott Sadler and Brian Vickers. It was a so-so night for Earnhardt, who finished 10th in his DEI Chevrolet.
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Nextel All-Star Challenge, 2006
Another OK but not stellar all-star race for Earnhardt, who finished ninth in his DEI Chevrolet as his future teammate, Jimmie Johnson scored his second of four all-star victories.
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Nextel All-Star Challenge, 2007
The 2007 race marked Earnhardt’s final all-star appearance in the No. 8 DEI Chevrolet. He finished ninth for the second consecutive year, which definitely was not where he wanted to be. Kevin Harvick won.
In his first all-star race behind the wheel of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Earnhardt came home eighth. Not great, perhaps, but his best finish in this event since 2004. Kasey Kahne, another future Earnhardt teammate, took the win.
Sprint All-Star Challenge, 2009
In a year where Tony Stewart scored the first victory ever for Stewart-Haas Racing, Earnhardt finished 10th, his sixth consecutive top-10 all-star finish.
Sprint All-Star Challenge, 2010
Not a great finish for Earnhardt, who wound up 12th as Kurt Busch gave Roger Penske his second all-star victory.
After finishing sixth in the preliminary Sprint Showdown, Earnhardt and the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet wound up 14th in the main event, his second-worst all-star finish ever. Carl Edwards was the race winner that year.
In something of a bounce-back year for Earnhardt, he drove the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to victory in the Sprint Showdown and a solid fifth-place finish in the main event. Teammate Jimmie Johnson won his third all-star race that season.