Concord, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Clint Bowyer, A.J. Allmendinger and Josh Wise will join 19 other drivers in Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway -- an event that pays $1 million to the winner.
Bowyer and Allmendinger finished 1-2 in Friday night's Sprint Showdown, the 40-lap preliminary event for the all-star race. Immediately after the showdown concluded, Josh Wise was named as the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote, beating popular driver Danica Patrick for the final transfer spot into the main event.
Bowyer led the way when the first 20-lap segment concluded. During the caution, Bowyer made a four-tire change while the other front runners took just two new tires in a round of pit stops. Bowyer started the second 20-lap segment in sixth but quickly charged to the front, passing Austin Dillon, the pole sitter, for the lead with 17 laps to go. Allmendinger then moved into second, while Dillon faded in the field.
This will be Bowyer's sixth appearance in the all-star race but his first time with a transfer spot.
"I've always said that if you can race your way into the all-star race then do it that way," Bowyer said. "It's just an extra night of practice that we don't have for the all-star race. When you have laps on the racetrack as it cools down when we go into the nighttime, these tracks change a big deal. Hopefully, it will mean something for tomorrow night."
Allmendinger crossed the finish line 2.5 seconds behind Bowyer. This will be Allmendinger's third time in the all-star race.
"It's going to be a tough road coming from tonight to tomorrow in trying to make the car better," Allmendinger said. "I definitely have to get it better to have a chance to win."
Casey Mears finished third, while Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola rounded out the top-five. Dillon ended up placing eighth, and Patrick was 10th. Patrick won the fan vote for last year's all-star race.
Wise, who drives the No. 98 Chevrolet for Phil Parsons Racing, finished 18th in the showdown. Wise winning the fan vote was a huge surprise, as Patrick was figured to be the top pick. He generated an enormous amount of fan votes from the social networking service and news website Reddit.com.
In March, the Reddit online community raised 67.8 million Dogecoins -- a cryptocurrency equating to about $55,000 -- to sponsor Wise's underfunded No. 98 team in the May 4 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega. Dogecoin/Reddit.com is sponsoring his team again this weekend at Charlotte.
"I'm still trying to wrap my head around it, I guess," Wise said. "This is huge for me and our team. Really, it started with a 16-year-old kid posting something on Reddit.com about some good runs that we had, and for whatever reason, this huge, awesome community just got behind us, and everyone knows about them raising money to sponsor us at Talladega, and then it was on to the fan vote. I'm just super thankful to be a part of it, really. It's been a pretty cool experience."
Wise has 79 career Sprint Cup starts to his credit. His career-best finish in the series is 19th, which came in last year's spring race at Talladega.
Last Saturday, Patrick scored her best finish in a Sprint Cup race with a seventh-place run at Kansas.
The 19 drivers who had already gained eligibility for the all-star race include: Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, David Ragan, Tony Stewart, Martin Truex Jr. and Brian Vickers.
Qualifying for the all-star race will be held on the same day as the event (Saturday at 7:10 p.m. ET). The total elapsed time from three laps and a four- tire pit stop (with no pit-road speed limit) will determine the starting lineup.
For the first time this year, the top-two finishers in the showdown and the fan vote winner will participate in qualifying rather than automatically start from the rear of the field. The all-star race is slated to start at approximately 9:10 p.m.