CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Clint Bowyer qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship in 2013, but he did not win a race last year. As a result, he had to try and earn a spot in the Sprint All-Star Race through the Sprint Showdown on Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. And that is exactly what he did by winning the Showdown.
A.J. Allmendinger finished second to also qualify for the All-Star race.
While no one was surprised by Bowyer's victory, the racing world was in shock with the announcement that Josh Wise won the fan vote, and not Danica Patrick, for a spot in the All-Star field race on Saturday night.
Allmendinger, who started second, grabbed the lead on lap one, but Bowyer ran his down and took over the top spot on lap 19.
Bowyer was the leader as the yellow flag came out on lap 20 for the mandatory break. His team decided to change all four tires on the ensuing pit stop, but he came off pit road in sixth place as Michael Annett elected not to pit and pole-sitter Austin Dillon, Paul Menard, Allmendinger and Patrick changed only two tires.
Dillon quickly grabbed the lead on the restart, but Bowyer wasted no time reclaiming the top spot by the 24th lap.
Allmendinger also got by Dillon on the same lap to move into second place.
Marcos Ambrose, recovering from a wild slide on lap two, moved into third on lap 26. But Ambrose was unable to gain on the top two and eventually lost the third spot to Casey Mears on lap 37 of the 40-lap event.
Ambrose ended up fourth, followed by Aric Almirola, Kyle Larson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Dillon, Menard and Patrick.