From there the battle was for second as Mears attempted to hold off Stenhouse, Martin Truex Jr. and Jeff Burton. Mears attempted to block his pursuers, but with 17 laps left Stenhouse dove under Mears coming out of turn two to take the second spot.
With Truex and Burton fighting behind him, Stenhouse quietly slipped away and easily qualified for his first All-Star Race.
“That was really cool getting in through the Showdown,” said Stenhouse. “We wanted to win that thing. I thought we had a car yesterday was going to be capable of running up front for the lead, but we’ll take second and give ourselves an opportunity to keep working on it and see if we can’t figure out some things for next week.”
Burton finished third in the 23-car field, followed by Paul Menard and Truex.
Patrick, who finished ninth, is the first female driver to advance to the All-Star Race.
“I’m very fortunate to have the fan base that I do,” Patrick said. “(This is a) big honor. This is for the fans. Gosh I’m gonna sound really cheesy right now but I’m going to race for the fans tonight.”