CONCORD, N.C. - In the two-segment Sprint Showdown, the undercard to Saturday night's main event, Dale Earnhardt Jr. dominated from start to finish, leading all 40 laps to win and transfer into the Sprint All-Star Race.
"This is all about just going fast right out of the gate," Earnhardt said. "I think our car is pretty good, that's what we learned. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to have a lot of fun. We'd love to win a million dollars (first place in the All-Star Race). We're pumped up."
Also transferring into the All-Star event in dramatic fashion was runner-up A.J. Allmendinger, who bounced back from a flat tire on the Showdown's opening lap to pass Jamie McMurray on the final lap.
"I couldn't believe we had a flat tire coming to the green," Allmendinger said. "I gave it everything I had. If I didn't make it, I didn't want it to be for lack of trying. I did everything I could to get in there and if I had to, I was going to wreck trying."
Because Earnhardt won, he didn't have to rely upon the fan vote to transfer into the All-Star Race. As a result, the driver with the next highest amount of votes, Bobby Labonte, earned the fan vote and became the third and final driver to transfer into the All-Star Race, even though he finished 12th in the Showdown.