Saturday night's Sprint Showdown and All-Star race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway is a chance to win a lot of money. For Scott Speed and Leavine Family Racing, it's also a chance to put something more valuable in the bank - knowledge.
The team will participate in the Showdown with hopes of qualifying for the Sprint All-Star main event. Their main goal is to use Friday's practice session and Saturday's races as a dress rehearsal for the May 27 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Scott and the No. 95 Jordan Truck Sales (JTS) Ford Fusion are scheduled to make selected starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season. Since the team's shop is the closest of all teams to the Charlotte Motor Speedway, crew chief Wally Rogers has put a lot of emphasis on the Coca-Cola 600 race.
"It's not often you get a chance to get that much practice a week in advance of a big race," Rogers said. "We're using the Sprint All-Star events as a test session. We are building more and more information on our tracks. This will help us go into the 600 with a strong baseline. That's worth all the money in the world to us."
Speed qualified for the Sprint Showdown by qualifying for races at Fort Worth, Texas, and Richmond, Va., earlier this year. The Showdown will feature two 20-lap runs with the top two cars in the final segment advancing to the Sprint All-Star race.
"I'm excited to get back to work," Speed said. "The guys at the shop have been busting their butts getting our stuff ready to race for Charlotte, so the NASCAR Sprint All-Star should be a lot of fun."
Practice for the Sprint Showdown is at noon Friday, followed by pole qualifying at 5 p.m. The Sprint All-Star, televised live on SPEED, will start at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.