Bayne, Biffle And Larson Race Their Way Into Saturday’s Sprint All-Star Raceby Camille Jones May 21, 2016
CONCORD, N.C. – Throughout Saturday’s 50-lap Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Roush Fenway Racing’s Trevor Bayne and Greg Biffle, along with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson, raced their way into the Sprint All-Star Race.
Bayne, driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford, made a three-wide pass for the race lead in the closing laps. He was able to hold on for the victory. This will be his second start in the Sprint All-Star race. His first start was in 2012, where he finished 15th.
“That was pretty cool,” Bayne said. “That takes me back to Texas in 2011 in the XFINITY race when I restarted fourth and pushed Carl (Edwards) out before winning the race. I was thinking about what I could do and I timed the restart really good and got right to the 21’s (Ryan Blaney) bumper at the line and was able to get three-wide off of turn two. The car was pretty good there. In clean air I was alright. I was a little concerned with dirty air, but I got a run and went through the middle. It was a little sketchy squeezing through that hole, but it worked.”
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Cheez-It Ford, charged to the lead and pulled away from the field to win the second segment of the Sprint Showdown. This will be Biffle’s 13th Sprint All-Star appearance.
“Brian Pattie is a very, very smart veteran crew chief in this sport and it was his call,” Biffle said. “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. Then we came down and the guys ripped off a great two-tire stop like a lot of other cars did and got us out third. Really, that’s what did it. I was being as aggressive as I could be, and I knew it was 20 laps and I knew that was my chance. The 3 car (Austin Dillon) was a little bit loose and so was I, but I made some adjustments on my driving style and was able to get by him.”
In a hard-fought battle for the win in the final segment, Kyle Larson prevailed over Chase Elliott in a thrilling photo finish. As they took the white flag, the two drivers battled it out for the lead. Elliott took the high-side, making a move to the race lead, but out of Turn 4, the two young drivers locked doors, allowing Larson to edge Elliott to the finish line. This will be Larson’s first start in the Sprint All-Star race.
‘Yeah, I was pretty loose there towards the end,” Larson said. “So, actually when he got to my right side, my car drove better. I had no more grip or sideforce or whatever. We ran a decent corner but he was able to slow me down enough. And he had the run. I just had to squeeze him. So, I’m sure he’s upset with me. But, it’s a non-points race and we’re going for a million bucks. I felt like I had to get it done; especially knowing that he would be in the race and I wouldn’t.”
The two Sprint Fan Vote recipients were Chase Elliott and Danica Patrick. This will be Elliott’s first Sprint All-Star race, while Patrick will be making her third start in the event.
“Even if we didn’t make it through, we were going to be more prepared for next weekend,” Patrick said. “But, it’s just even that much better to know that I have incredible fans that always come through. Don’t think that I don’t see social media fans. And I see all the times that people said they voted for me. So, thank you very much. I hope you give you something fun to watch tonight.”
The Sprint All-Star race will broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 and the Performance Racing Network (PRN) at 9 p.m. ET tonight.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas