Bayne, Biffle, Larson Win To Advance To All Star Race

(L-R) Chase Elliott, Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle, Kyle Larson & Danica Patrick all advance to the Sprint All Star Race
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle and Kyle Larson advanced to the 32nd running of the NASCAR Sprint All Star race after winning segments in the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday.

Bayne won the opening 30-lap segment to advance to his second-career all-star race, while Biffle took the checkered flag in the second 30-lap segment. Larson won the final 10-lap dash in a thrilling finish over Chase Elliott to move onto his first Sprint All Star Race.

Elliott later won the Sprint Fan Vote to transfer to the all-star field along with Danica Patrick.

Bayne took the first segment after shooting through the middle on a three-wide pass on the final lap and then holding off Elliott by five one-thousandths of a second to earn a spot in the All Star Race.

Elliott had started on the front row with Austin Dillon after rain washed out qualifying and checked out on the field, leading Ryan Blaney by half a second just five laps in.

With five laps to go, Michael McDowell spun to bring out the only caution flag of the day, setting up a two-lap shootout to end the opening segment.

Several drivers hit pit road to change tires, including Biffle, Allmendinger and Menard. Most took only two left side tires, saving the right sides for the mandatory pit stop following the first segment.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"] The first segment restarted with Elliott on the inside of Ryan Blaney with Dillon and Bayne in the second row. Blaney went high in in turns one and two looking to get around Elliott, but left just enough room for Bayne to stick the nose of his Ford Fusion in between the two leaders in a three-wide bid for the lead and with a push from teammate Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. he managed to pull ahead.

As the three came through turns three and four, Bayne cleared Blaney on the outside but still had to contend with Elliott on the inside, looking to pick up a side-draft to catapault him back to the front, but Bayne held on to secure the first transfer spot and his second all-star race start.

"I don't think I was sweating until lap 19," said Bayne. "Ricky (Stenhouse Jr.) gave me a huge push. If it wasn't for him we wouldn't win the race. It's good to have a teammate to do that even if it wasn't helping him. We raced those 20 laps like it was for $1 million."

Blaney finished third ahead of Dillon and Stenhouse, Jr., but was black-lagged for jumping the restart and was force to start the second segment from the rear of the field.

Between segments, teams made a mandatory pit stop, with Biffle among those taking right side tires, giving him four fresh tires to restart segment two.

Elliott led the field to the green flag in the second 30-lap segment ahead of Dillon, Biffle and Larson but was quickly outdueled by Dillon who went three wide with Larson for the lead. Biffle followed to take second ahead of Larson while Elliott fell all the way back to fifth.

Biffle kept up the chase on Dillon and with fresher tires he quickly reeled him in, moving to the inside on the backstretch to take the lead on lap six. Biffle then started to pull away, opening a 1.5 second lead as Dillon lost ground, dropping all the way to sixth.

Larson took over the second spot but had no chance on Biffle, finishing the second segment in the runner-up spot ahead of A.J. Allmendinger, Elliott and Aric Almirola. Blaney rallied from dead last to finish sixth.

Biffle, who will make his 13th start in the All Star Race, credited the pit strategy for helping him get out front.

"Brian Pattie (crew chief) is a very, very smart veteran crew chief in this sport and it was his call," Biffle said of the two-tire stop late in the opening segment. "I was skeptical of it, trust me, but I tell you what, what really made the difference was we made a chassis adjustment, two left side tires, the car was really fast the last single lap that we made under green and I was able to pass four cars in one lap.

"I was being as aggressive as I could be, and I knew it was 20 laps and I knew that was my chance."

In the final segment, Larson got a good head of steam over Allmendinger as Elliott pulled up to the high side and shot through the field to go from ninth to third in just one lap, ducking down just in front of Cassill.

With two laps to go, Elliott ducked low around Larson coming through turns one and two but Larson fought back on the outside and pulled back ahead as Elliott got loose and fell back in line behind Larson.

Elliott rallied as he and Larson took the white flag and quickly reeled Larson back in, looking to the high side as they came through the final turn.

Coming out of the turn, Elliott pulled even with Larson on the outside but brushed the wall slightly in the dogleg, slowing his momentum just enough to allow Larson to inch ahead.

Elliott (left) and Larson make contact coming to the checkered flag in the final segment
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

In a finish reminiscent of Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch's classic last-lap duel at Darlington in 2003, Elliott's and Larson's cars bounced off each other in a cloud of smoke as they came to the finish line with Larson barely edging Elliott by two feet to win the final segment.

The last-segment win was Larson's first checkered flag in Sprint Cup, and advanced him to his first-career NASCAR Sprint All Star Race.

"I knew Chase (Elliott) was going to be good on four tires and he was going to win the fan vote and I probably wasn't going to win the fan vote. So, I did what I could do," said Larson. "I was hoping I could hold him off to the checkered. I knew he'd get close. I had to squeeze him because I knew he was going to get the fan vote, and if Chase was to win, I wouldn't be in. So, I had to do everything I could do to get to the start/finish line in first and luckily it paid off."

Sprint Showdown – Final Segment Results

Pos # Driver Start Laps Led Status
1 42 Kyle Larson 7 10 10 Running
2 24 Chase Elliott 1 10 0 Running
3 21 Ryan Blaney 3 10 0 Running
4 43 Aric Almirola 11 10 0 Running
5 47 AJ Allmendinger 4 10 0 Running
6 38 Landon Cassill 13 10 0 Running
7 15 Clint Bowyer 12 10 0 Running
8 13 Casey Mears 14 10 0 Running
9 10 Danica Patrick 9 10 0 Running
10 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 6 10 0 Running
11 44 Brian Scott 15 10 0 Running
12 3 Austin Dillon 2 10 5 Running
13 27 Paul Menard 8 10 0 Running
14 23 David Ragan 17 10 0 Running
15 83 Matt DiBenedetto 18 10 0 Running
16 95 Michael McDowell 16 10 0 Running
17 34 Chris Buescher 20 10 0 Running
18 46 Michael Annett 21 10 0 Running
19 7 Regan Smith 19 10 0 Running
20 30 Josh Wise 25 10 0 Running
21 98 Cole Whitt 22 10 0 Running
22 32 Jeffrey Earnhardt 23 10 0 Running
23 55 Reed Sorenson 24 10 0 Running

Sprint Showdown – Second Segment Results

Pos # Driver Start Laps Led Status
1 16 Greg Biffle 10 20 16 Running
2 42 Kyle Larson 7 20 0 Running
3 47 AJ Allmendinger 4 20 0 Running
4 24 Chase Elliott 1 20 0 Running
5 43 Aric Almirola 11 20 0 Running
6 21 Ryan Blaney 3 20 0 Running
7 38 Landon Cassill 13 20 0 Running
8 3 Austin Dillon 2 20 5 Running
9 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 6 20 0 Running
10 10 Danica Patrick 9 20 0 Running
11 27 Paul Menard 8 20 0 Running
12 13 Casey Mears 14 20 0 Running
13 15 Clint Bowyer 12 20 0 Running
14 44 Brian Scott 15 20 0 Running
15 95 Michael McDowell 16 20 0 Running
16 83 Matt DiBenedetto 18 20 0 Running
17 34 Chris Buescher 20 20 0 Running
18 7 Regan Smith 19 20 0 Running
19 46 Michael Annett 21 20 0 Running
20 23 David Ragan 17 20 0 Running
21 98 Cole Whitt 22 20 0 Running
22 30 Josh Wise 25 20 0 Running
23 32 Jeffrey Earnhardt 23 20 0 Running
24 55 Reed Sorenson 24 19 0 Running

Sprint Showdown – First Segment Results

Pos # Driver Start Laps Led Status
1 6 Trevor Bayne 5 20 1 Running
2 24 Chase Elliott 1 20 19 Running
3 21 Ryan Blaney 3 20 0 Running
4 3 Austin Dillon 2 20 0 Running
5 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 6 20 0 Running
6 42 Kyle Larson 7 20 0 Running
7 38 Landon Cassill 13 20 0 Running
8 6 Greg Biffle 10 20 0 Running
9 10 Danica Patrick 9 20 0 Running
10 47 AJ Allmendinger 4 0 0 Running
11 44 Brian Scott 15 20 0 Running
12 43 Aric Almirola 11 20 0 Running
13 15 Clint Bowyer 12 20 0 Running
14 83 Matt DiBenedetto 18 20 0 Running
15 13 Casey Mears 14 20 0 Running
16 23 David Ragan 17 20 0 Running
17 34 Chris Buescher 20 20 0 Running
18 95 Michael McDowell 16 20 0 Running
19 27 Paul Menard 8 20 0 Running
20 46 Michael Annett 21 20 0 Running
21 7 Regan Smith 19 20 0 Running
22 32 Jeffrey Earnhardt 23 20 0 Running
23 98 Cole Whitt 22 20 0 Running
24 30 Josh Wise 25 20 0 Running
25 55 Reed Sorenson 4 20 0 Running

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