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The sport's Most Popular Driver hasn't won since Michigan in June 2008, but sneaks into the All-Star Race on a technicality: He's a former champion of the event. That was the last of a three-win rookie season that left his father, the late Dale Earnhardt, hugging him with joy in Victory Lane. The Intimidator's son has hardly been intimidating since; he's led just 23 laps in the last nine All-Star events. But after getting stuck in a slump that's left him 16th in points, there's no better time to summon that former magic and earn a win he desperately needs.

Text: Tom Bowles
Photo: Fred Vuich/SI; AP

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