Bowyer, Allmendinger transfer in Sprint Showdown

May 16, 2014 No Comments

Sprint Showdown - Practice

By: Mark Schafer

There were four  different lead changes in the NASCAR Sprint Showdown race, the race that qualifies the top two finishers into the NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star race.

Although he started from the pole, Austin Dillon didn’t lead his first laps until the second segment. Shortly after the green flag fell, it was A.J. Allmendinger and the No. 47 Chevrolet that jumped out to the lead. Allmendinger started to pull away from the field during the first of two 20-lap segments.

The only caution of the night flew on lap two when Marcos Ambrose in the No. 9 Ford had a tire-burning, smoke filled spin that started in the entry to turn one, when Ambrose made slight contact with the Ford of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. From there Ambrose’s car went sideways, but Ambrose kept the pedal glued to the floor during the duration of the turn two spin.

As smoke poured out of the rear end of the car, Ambrose burned the tires off his car, but kept it in one piece, and off the wall.

At the restart, Allmendinger jumped out to the lead again, but he was followed by a fast Toyota of Clint Bowyer.

During the first segment, a majority of the drivers were feeling each other out, but Bowyer was setting Allmendinger up for what would ultimately be a closing lap pass for the lead.

When the yellow flag waved for the halftime break between the first and second segments, there were several different strategies that were in place.

Bowyer, who took the lead with the help of using the high line, took four tires. Allmendinger, as well as several other Chevrolet’s took two.  On the track though was Micheal Annette who was gambling and not taking any tires during the break.

At the restart for the second race, Annett, and his wearing tires, paid the price for his gamble, and spun his tires on the restart.

Jumping on the spinning tires of Annett was Dillon, who took the lead. Right behind Dillon was Allmendinger who wanted to take the lead back, but he was met with opposition from a familiar foe, the No. 15 Toyota of Bowyer.

Bowyer took the second position away from Allmendinger and then set his sights on Dillon who was getting bigger in the windshield of Bowyer. Two laps later Bowyer was back out top, and Allmendinger was following.

Despite challenges from Ambrose who had charged through the field after the spin, Allmendinger held onto second place and the second transfer spot. Up front though, there was no match for Bowyer, the clean air, and a clear path to the All-Star race tomorrow night.

“Our car was really strong,” Bowyer told Fox reporters after the race.  “We have struggled all year. We’ have been fast in practice, but struggled in the race. We feel like we got the problems figured out.”

The struggles for now, at least are over for Bowyer as he and the team prepare for the race for a million dollars tomorrow night.

“I always said that if you can race your way in then it is just another night of practice,” Bowyer said. “Hopefully it means we have something tomorrow night.”

While Bowyer is proud of his team and their race on Friday, Allmendinger felt that his team had proven themselves worthy to be in the race.

“It’s impressive [the season Allmendinger has had],” Allmendinger said “It’s going to be a tough road from tonight to tomorrow. It is just a tough little team that just keeps fighting. My team really deserves this.”

The third transfer spot from the night belonged to a driver that was voted into the race by the fans. That honor was given to the No. 98 Ford of Josh Wise, whose two-race sponsor, Dogecoin/Reddit.com helped rally support for their driver, who edged Danica Patrick and Dillon, both fan favorites for the position.

The All-Star race will be Saturday evening.

Sprint Showdown Results: 

1. Clint Bowyer

2. A.J. Allmendinger

3. Casey Mears

4. Marcos Ambrose

5. Aric Almirola

6. Kyle Larson

7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

8. Austin Dillon

9. Paul Menard

10. Danica Patrick

11. David Gilliland

12. Cole Whitt

13. Alex Bowman

14. Dave Blaney

15. Michael Annett

16. Joe Nemechek

17. Landon Cassill

18. Josh Wise

19. Ryan Truex

20. J.J. Yeley

21. Reed Sorenson

22. Blake Koch

23. David Stremme

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