By AMANDA VINCENT
Hendrick Motorsports is trying to get five cars into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The organization’s four full-time drivers — Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne — already have spots locked up for the All-Star event. HMS announced recently that it would field the No. 25 for reigning Xfinity Series champion Chase Elliott in Friday night’s Sprint Showdown at Charlotte, an event that’s a last-ditch effort for drivers to get into the All-Star Race.
“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to run the Showdown,” Elliott said. “It allows me to gain more experience with my NAPA Auto Parts team before we race again at Charlotte a week later.”
Elliott will earn a spot in the All-Star Race if he’s leading at the end of either of the two 20-lap segments of the Sprint Showdown. There also is an All-Star starting spot determined by fan vote, but Elliott isn’t eligible for the fan vote, as he isn’t a regular in the Sprint Cup Series.
In addition to a full Xfinity Series schedule for JR Motorsports, co-owned by Sprint Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., Elliott is driving the No. 25 Cup car for HMS on a limited schedule this season in preparation for taking over the No. 24 Sprint Cup Series entry in 2016 for the retiring Jeff Gordon.
The Xfinity Series will race at Iowa Speedway in Newton on Sunday, so Elliott will fly back and forth between the two tracks this weekend.
“I’m grateful to Mr. Hendrick and everyone at NAPA for the chance to do it (run the Sprint Showdown),” Elliott said.
Elliott already has made two Sprint Cup starts this season. His next race will be the May 24 Coca-Cola 600, also at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
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