Bowyer Wins Race, Wise Wins Fan Vote

Clint Bowyer, Josh Wise, AJ Allmendinger

Clint Bowyer, Josh Wise and AJ Allmendinger advanced to Saturday nignt's Sprint All-Star race. (Photo: Getty Images)

CONCORD, N.C. - Clint Bowyer won, AJ Allmendinger advanced and Josh Wise, backed by the Reddit/Dogecoin internet community won the fan vote to compete in Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star race.

Bowyer led the final 17 laps to win the Sprint Showdown and earn his sixth All-Star appearance. Allmendinger earned his third All-Star appearance by finishing second in the Showdown. Wise finished 18th in the 23-car field but won the fan vote to make his first All-Star appearance.

Wise was the surprise, topping last year’s fan vote winner, Danica Patrick, among others.

Wise has benefited from the online community, who helped raise $55,000 to sponsor Wise’s car at  Talladega Superspeedway.

“This is kind of a big deal for our sport,’’ Wise said after the Showdown Friday night. “It’s a lot of young kids and people from around the world. I’ve had the chance to interact with a lot of them, and there’s a lot of people who had never watched a NASCAR race who have now watched several, so it’s a pretty cool deal.’’

The top two and the fan vote winner advanced to the All-Star race, which will have 22 cars.

By making the All-Star race, Wise’s team is guaranteed to collect at least $70,000. Combined with the $26,962 the team earned for Friday’s finish, the team is due to earn about $100,000 at minimum. That’s significant for a team that had struggled to find sponsorship throughout the season.

“We're able to buy those extra sticker tires on the weekend so that we feel like we have a car that's going to be more competitive,’‘ Wise said. “I am stoked for just Phil Parsons Racing in general about this. Phil really took a leap of faith and just saying we're racing this year, we're going to do whatever it takes to race, and that's what we've been doing.

“But I think probably what's more valuable than that is the exposure that's coming from it.’’

Casey Mears finished third in the Showdown with Marcos Ambrose placing fourth after spinning early in the event. Aric Almirola was fifth. He was followed by Kyle Larson, who lost third gear early, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., pole-sitter Austin Dillon, Paul Menard and Danica Patrick in 10th.               

How Bowyer won: He started fourth and ran near the front the entire race. He got by Austin Dillon for the lead quickly in the second segment and cruised. 

What else happened: Marcos Ambrose spun in the first segment and nearly rallied to make the All-Star race but finished fourth. 

Who else had a good day: Casey Mears finished third. 

Who had a bad day: Kyle Larson lost third gear in the first segment and that doomed him. ... Pole-sitter Austin Dillon fell back in the second segment after taking only two tires and finished eighth.

Quote of the day: “He’s gotten me three times now, so I’m kind of getting sick of that,’’ Marcos Ambrose said after contact with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun him. 

Other notables: Danica Patrick finished 10th. 

 

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