CONCORD, N.C. — official release — NASCAR photo — Dale Earnhardt Jr. vaulted to the top of the leaderboard Friday afternoon in practice for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Earnhardt, the 2000 All-Star winner, turned a fast lap of 193.562 mph in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet ahead of the Saturday night invitational (9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1).
Earnhardt’s lap was just ahead of the 193.382 mph lap of Brian Vickers’ No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. Denny Hamlin was third-best at 193.271 mph in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
Kevin Harvick, a two-time winner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season, was fourth-fastest with Greg Biffle completing the top five. Jimmie Johnson, winner of the last two NASCAR Sprint All-Star Races, was just 12th-fastest of the 19 drivers already confirmed for the 22-car main event.
The All-Star entrants were on track for a total of 1 hour and 40 minutes, with the final 15 minutes devoted to pit-stop practice. The unique format to Saturday night’s Coors Light Pole Qualifying is a three-lap time trial that includes a four-tire change, with no speed limit on pit road.
Brad Keselowski was summoned to the NASCAR hauler for practicing his high-speed entry onto pit road before the designated 15 minutes.