By Lars Anderson
October 11, 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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