Bowyer wins Sprint Showdown All-Star preliminary; Allmendinger, Wise also advance

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It may not be a points race win, but for Clint Bowyer, a win is a win after a year-long drought since his last regular season triumph in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Bowyer took the lead twice in Friday night’s Sprint Showdown, once from AJ Allmendinger on Lap 19 and again past Allmendinger and Austin Dillon on Lap 24 to take the overall lead after an intermission between the two 20-lap segments.

At that intermission, Bowyer opted to take four tires while some of the other cars ahead of him only took two. Once he got into the lead, he stretched his lead by more than two seconds to take the win and advance into Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race.

Allmendinger wasn’t challenged for second and will also advance.

Casey Mears finished third ahead of Richmond sparring partner Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola. Polesitter Austin Dillon finished eighth.

Meanwhile on the strength of the Dogecoin-supported effort, Josh Wise won the Fan Vote and from 18th, will advance in as well.

At the halfway mark, Bowyer led Allmendinger as well. Bowyer took the lead from Allmendinger with an inside move of Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 19. Polesitter Dillon fell to third with Paul Menard fourth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

The rest of the top 10 was Mears, Ambrose, Kyle Larson, Danica Patrick and Almirola.

The “holy cow!” moment of the race occurred in the early laps when Stenhouse Jr. contacted  Ambrose in Turns 1 and 2. Ambrose slid his car through the turns, and while putting up a smoke show, managed to save the car without spinning or contacting anyone else. Ambrose made it back to seventh by the end of the first 20-lap segment.

At the intermission, most of the field pitted with Dillon emerging at the head of those coming in. He, Menard, Allmendinger and Patrick took two tires with everyone from there on back taking four.

Kanaan, Dixon to rejoin Chip Ganassi Le Mans effort

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Both Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan will be rejoining Ford Chip Ganassi Racing as part of their four-car armada at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team revealed late last week. Both drivers contested the event last year, with Dixon in the No. 69 entry – finishing seventh in the GTE Pro class – while Kanaan replaced an injured Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 68 – finishing sixth in GTE Pro.

For Kanaan, this also represents a return to the Chip Ganassi organization, with which he contested the Verizon IndyCar Series from 2014 to 2017 before departing for A.J. Foyt Racing in 2018.

Kanaan will join Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell in the No. 67, while Dixon will reunite with Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook, the three drivers having won the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, in the No. 69.

Stefan Mücke, Olivier Pla, and Billy Johnson will share the No. 66 entry, with Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, and Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 68.

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