CONCORD, N.C. – As the field came to the green in the Sprint Showdown, polesitter AJ Allmendinger had a left front tire deflate so he was forced to pit lane. That misfortune for the No. 22 allowed Dale Earnhardt Jr. to start from the pole position.
After a side-by-side lap with Martin Truex Jr., Earnhardt grabbed the top spot and would not relinquish it for the entire 40 laps of the race. At the halfway point Earnhardt and Truex stayed on the track while most of the rest of the field came to the pits.
When the green flag flew for the second 20-lap segment, Jamie McMurray was able to get around Truex and grabbed the second spot. As Earnhardt pulled away and McMurray cemented himself in the second spot, Allmendinger put on a furious charge from the back of the pack. Allmendinger took fifth on lap 24, fourth on lap 25 and third on lap 28.
However, once he got within three car lengths of McMurray he stalled out and was unable to advance further, at least until three to go. Coming to the flagstand for the two-to-go signal, Allmendinger dove underneath McMurray and grabbed the second position and continued to hold it until the checkered flag.
Earnhardt and Allmendinger took the checkers in first and second and punched their tickets into the All-Star race. Rounding out the top five were McMurray, Truex and Juan Pablo Montoya.
Receiving the Sprint Fan Vote to transfer into the All-Star Race was Bobby Labonte.
About the author
What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.
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