Aric Almirola, William Byron, and Matt DiBenedetto have transferred into the NASCAR All-Star Race through stage wins in the All-Star Open. Clint Bowyer advanced through the fan vote.
Almirola advanced by winning the opening stage in the All-Star Open. Almirola started the race second, took the lead from Michael McDowell on lap 11, and led the rest of the way.
There was one caution during the opening segment when McDowell spun Darrell Wallace Jr. going into Turn 3 on lap 19. McDowell had lost the lead to Almirola and second place to Ricky Stenhouse when Wallace came along. He and Wallace were fighting for the third spot when Wallace hit the right-rear of Wallace’s car. Both crashed into Turn 3. While McDowell continued, Wallace had to retire from the race.
“Just disrespect when you get hooked into the wall,” said Wallace. “People say (he’s) one of the nicest guys in the garage, I can’t wait for the God-fearing text that he’s going to send me about preach, pray and respect. What a joke he is.”
Wallace had been leading the fan vote as of last week but did not transfer into the All-Star Race as rules require the car must be in raceable condition.
William Byron cruised into the All-Star Race by leading the entirety of the second stage in the All-Star Open. Byron and Ty Dillon started on the front row for the second stage, which also had just one caution. It came on the second lap of action as Byron was fending off Dillon for the race lead, John Hunter Nemechek and Ryan Preece spun in Turn 2.
On the ensuing restart, Byron got a clean jump as Dillon came off Turn 2 sideways. Dillon then dropped through the field. Byron managed a healthy gap over the field for the remainder of the stage as Matt DiBenedetto put the bumper to Christopher Bell for the second position.
DiBenedetto and Austin Dillon started on the front row for the final stage, where DiBenedetto cleared Dillon off Turn 2. Clint Bowyer followed DiBenedetto around Dillon the outside, and briefly put pressure on DiBenedetto’s bumper. DiBenedetto led the entire way as the final stage went caution-free.