CONCORD, N.C. – Clint Bowyer said his appearance in Friday’s Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway was a bit of a disappointment, because he wanted to win his way into the Sprint All-Star Race.
Bowyer made the Chase for the Sprint Cup last year, but he hasn’t won a points race since 2012.
It didn’t stop him from dominating the second and final segment of the Showdown to qualify for the All-Star Race.
A.J. Allmendinger also raced his way into Saturday night’s All-Star Race by finishing second.
If Allmendinger – who drives for JTG Daugherty Racing, a smaller team – making the All-Star Race was a surprise, it was a bigger shock to find out who didn’t.
Josh Wise won the Sprint Fan Vote over heavily favored drivers including Danica Patrick, Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon.
Wise’s No. 98 DogeCoin Chevy finished 18th in the Showdown, but Wise received the most votes to grab the 22nd spot in the All-Star Race.
Wise said his Phil Parsons Racing car, which got its sponsorship from donations by fans on Reddit.com, received a huge boost from those who voted him in the event.
“To beat Danica out is saying something,” Bowyer said of Wise’s supportive fans.
To beat out the whole Showdown field, he added, was also a positive.
“Qualifying through (the Showdown) could be an advantage,” Bowyer said. “Driving 40 laps at night is good practice.
“I wasn’t thrilled about being in this race, but it’s what we deserved. We haven’t run well … I’m a big boy, and this is where we are. We had to qualify through that race.”
Casey Mears finished third, followed by Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola.
Larson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., polesitter Austin Dillon, Paul Menard and Patrick rounded out the top 10.
Bowyer has recent history on his side in his quest for his first points-paying win in the Gen 6 car era.
The Sprint Showdown winner has won a points race later in the season every year since 2011 (David Ragan, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray).
“I’m proud of Clint and this whole team, they’ve had such good energy,” said Bowyer’s car owner, Michael Waltrip.
“All you want to do is be in the big show. When I won (the Showdown) in 1991, I was thrilled to be in the All-Star Race.”
Wise said he couldn’t believe he qualified for his sport’s all-star night.
“One of the challenges that I’ve faced is gaining momentum through sponsorship and being in really good opportunities to showcase what I think I can do,” Wise said.
“Now, we’ve got a chance to win a million dollars, and we’re going to go for it.”