Clint Bowyer won the Sprint Showdown on Friday evening at Charlotte Motor Speedway to advance to tomorrow night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and AJ Allmendinger finished runner up to also advance. In a surprise, Josh Wise, behind the supporters at Reddit and Dogecoin won the Sprint Fan Vote to be the third driver to advance to the All-Star Race.
"There's not too many sporting events in the world that pay a million bucks to win, it's nice to have a shot at it tomorrow night," Bowyer said in victory lane.
He used a four tire pit stop during the break to catapult him in the final 20 laps and into his sixth career All-Star Race appearance.
Friday night's Showdown was split into two segments the first was 20 laps where caution laps would count. Austin Dillon started from the pole with AJ Allmendinger second, Kyle Larson third, and Clint Bowyer fourth. Allmendinger wasted little time as he took the lead in Turn 3 on lap 1 from Dillon. Clint Boywer moved into second on lap 2.
The caution flew on lap 3 when Ricky Stenhouse Jr got into the back of Marcos Ambrose in Turn 1 battling for sixth. Ambrose went into a long smoky slide through Turn 1 and 2 but did not hit anything after making a nice save. The race went back green on lap 7 where Kyle Larson missed a shift and lost third gear in his car. The miscue dropped the rookie to 15th of the 23 cars.
On lap 19 Bowyer passed Allmendinger for the lead in Turn 3 and he led at the end of the first segment. Allmendinger was second, Dillon third, Paul Menard fourth, Stenhouse fifth, Casey Mears sixth, Ambrose had driven back to seventh, Larson was eighth, Danica Patrick ninth, and Aric Almirola tenth.
Michael Annett, who was 13th, stayed out and did not pit so he was in the lead for the restart to start the 20 lap second segment where only green flag laps would count. Off pit road Austin Dillon was first with Menard second, Allmendinger third, and Patrick fourth. They took two tires. Clint Bowyer was the first off with four tires and restarted sixth. Ricky Stenhouse Jr was seventh, Alex Bowman eighth and Mears ninth.
Annett did not get a good restart and it was Dillon, Allmendinger, and Bowyer that got a gap on the rest of the field. Bowyer moved to second with 18 laps to go and then with 17 to go passed Dillon for the lead. Allmendinger moved to second also with 17 laps to go. With 15 laps left Ambrose moved into third place and tried to track down Allmendinger for the final transfer spot. He could not keep pace though and Casey Mears took third with four laps to go. It was too late for Mears though to make a run at Allmendinger.
Bowyer ended up winning by 2.55 seconds over the driver of the JTG/Daughtery Racing No. 47 Chevrolet but Allmendinger was happy to advance to his third career All-Star Race.
"I'm proud to more importantly get my team into the race and show that they're all stars," Allmendinger said.
Finishing third was Casey Mears for Germain Racing. Marcos Ambrose was fourth, Aric Almirola fifth, Kyle Larson sixth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr seventh, Austin Dillon eighth, Paul Menard ninth, and Danica Patrick tenth. David Gilliland was 11th, Cole Whitt 12th, Alex Bowman 13th, Dave Blaney 14th, Michael Annett 15th, Joe Nemechek 16th, Landon Cassill 17th, Josh Wise 18th, Ryan Truex 19th, JJ Yeley 20th, Reed Sorenson 21st, Blake Koch 22nd, and David Stremme 23rd.
Live on Fox Sports 1 on the cool down lap Darrell Waltrip radioed to Josh Wise, driver of the No. 98 Ford for Phil Parsons Racing, that he was the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote and would be racing in his first All-Star Race tomorrow night.
"We have to get this thing tuned up for tomorrow and have a little better showing," Wise said back. "But man thanks so much everyone at Reddit and Dogecoin, unbelievable."
Not many people thought someone would be able to out-vote Danica Patrick but the dedicated fans of Josh Wise proved everyone wrong.
Qualifying for the Sprint All-Star Race will take place on Fox Sports 1 Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET with a unique format that will include a pit stop and the race will follow at 9 p.m. ET.
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