Jimmie Johnson seeks consistency; All-Star race provides it

If there is one thing the annual NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race is known for, it’s unpredictability.

And not just in the outcome.

The annual all-star event has produced some of NASCAR’s most memorable moments and a litany of rules changes during its 30-year history.

In fact in 2001, several cars wrecked when rain began at the same time as the race, and NASCAR allowed teams to use back-up cars.

So when it was announced this season the all-star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway would run under the same format as a year ago, it probably was good news to Jimmie Johnson. After all, he has won the event and its $1 million prize the past two seasons and four times overall.

Practice for Saturday night’s race will be at 1:50 p.m. Friday. The 40-lap Sprint Showdown, which will add two drivers to the all-star field, will start at 7:15.

“I know the track has been strong for myself and Hendrick Motorsports, really, if you look at their history. I want to keep those winning ways alive,” Johnson said.

“If we were able to win a third consecutive All‑Star Race, that would be something. I’m not sure if that’s happened before. I would love to have that honor.”

That honor is up for grabs, and the victory likely would provide a boost for Johnson and his No. 48 Chevrolet team, which has yet to win in 2014.

“I think some or many forget that, yes, we do have a lot of trophies and I’m very proud of them, but there have been plenty of slow starts, plenty of dry spells or stretches through a given season,” Johnson said.

“One thing that’s always constant about the No. 48 is we’re going to work our guts out to figure it out. That’s what we’re in the middle of doing now. It isn’t fun, that’s for sure. It isn’t a fun experience to work so hard and not get the reward that you want.

“But that’s life.”

Although the format of the main event won’t change this season, there are some changes to the schedule.

Qualifying for the Showdown and the Showdown itself will be Friday night and the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote will be announced as well. The change will allow all three drivers to participate in All-Star qualifying, which has been moved to Saturday before the 90-lap, five-segment race.

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