When you looked at the Sprint Showdown line-up Kansas native Clint Bowyer looked like the favorite. He was, after all, the only Chase for the Championship driver from a season ago that was in the All-Star Race qualifier. But Bowyer had never won the Showdown in any of his four previous appearances.
Bowyer started fourth and he quickly pushed his way to the front. The 15 car worked its way up to second in just one lap. Bowyer would take the lead with two laps to go in the first segment and was your leader at the lap 20 intermission.
While a number of cars decided to take two tires and Michael Annett decided not to pit at all, Bowyer chose to put four tires on his Toyota. The 15 car would restart sixth, but it wouldn’t take long for him to get back up front. In just four laps, Bowyer was back out front and leaving the field in the dust, making the fifth time the champ and winning the Sprint Showdown.
“Our car was really strong,” Bowyer told FOX Sports 1 after the race. “We’ve been struggling. We’ve been fast in practice but can’t close the race. I spent a lot of time in the shop this week and I think we got to the bottom of a lot of things. Huge improvement tonight.”
AJ Allmendinger finished second claiming the second transfer spot into the All-Star Race.
Josh Wise sparked by an aggressive online campaign, won the fan vote. He’s been racing in the Sprint Cup series since 2009, but his best career Cup series finish was a 19th at Talladega last season.
“This is huge for me and my team,” said Wise who will get an extra $70,000 or so just for racing on Saturday night. “But was more valuable than (the money) is just the exposure that is coming from it.”