NASCAR Chase race 5: Milestone will inspire Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Friday October 11th, 2013
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in 1999, on the eve of his first Cup series start, which took place at Charlotte.
Michael Pugh/AP

Yet in his last six points-race starts at Charlotte, he has finished better than 18th only once (seventh in the fall of '12). This will be a revealing race for the 42-year-old future Hall of Famer. If Gordon flourishes -- and I think he will -- it will show that he still has the skill and the will to contend for a title. If he flounders, it could portend that his glory days are indeed behind him.

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