Bowyer, Blaney, Suarez and Elliott advance to NASCAR All-Star Race

Three drivers raced their way into Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race and fans chose the other.

Bowyer, Blaney, Suarez and Elliott advance to NASCAR All-Star Race

Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney and rookie Daniel Suarez won stages in the Monster Energy Open to advance to the all-star main event, while Chase Elliott moved into the field as the winner of the fan vote.

Stage 3

Suarez got a good jump on a restart with three of the 10 laps remaining in the final segment of the Monster Energy Open and held off Austin Dillon to win the Stage and advance to the All-Star Race main event.

Dillon completed a last-lap pass of Elliott to claim the second position.

“This means a lot,” Suarez said. “Yesterday, we didn’t have the speed. It was good racing. Chase raced super-clean – aggressive, but clean. He was a little faster than me.”

Elliott was third, Regan Smith was fourth and Patrick was fifth.

“I think each and every race for Daniel is a new experience. At each one, he continues to step up and get better and better,” Suarez’s team owner, Joe Gibbs said.

The restart came after Erik Jones tried to go 3-wide with three laps to go and join the battle for the lead. He drove through the grass and smoke began billowing from his No. 77 Toyota, which brought out the caution.

“Gave it a shot,” Jones said over his radio. “I got a good run but there wasn’t any run on the bottom. I hoped there was enough pavement to make the move, but there wasn’t.”

The segment began with Elliott and leader Landon Cassill making contact on the restart and bringing out the first caution of the event. Cassill had taken only two new tires between segments, while the remainder of the field took four.

“I don't know what they expect, I mean, I'm inside of you,” Elliott said over his radio.

Stage 2

While Blaney all 20 laps of the second segment, he had a much more difficult time than Bowyer did in Stage 1.

Elliott several times got within about three car-lengths of Blaney, but never got a chance to attempt a pass before Blaney claimed the Stage 2 win and advanced to the All-Star Race main event.

“Got it done,” Blaney said on his radio after taking the win. “Good job, work on it for tonight.”

Suarez finished third, Jones was fourth and Paul Menard was fifth.

Stage 1

Bowyer lead the first 20-lap segment from start to finish, easily holding off Blaney to take the win and advance into the All-Star Race main event.

“Good job, guys,” Bowyer said immediately after taking the checkered flag. “We won’t do this next year. That’s on me.”

Jones was third, Elliott was fourth and A.J. Allmendinger was fifth.

With seven laps remaining in the segment, Danica Patrick hit the left-rear of Trevor Bayne and sent him sliding around the track. Somehow, he managed to keep his No. 6 Ford on the track and continued on in the race.

Bowyer was so dominant, by the halfway point he had already moved out to almost a 1.5-second lead of Blaney.

Fan vote

After being informed he was the winner of the fan vote, Elliott said, “It’s awesome to hear that crowd just then. That means a lot to me. I appreciate you guys voting for me. That is really cool for our team. 
 
"Obviously, we would have loved to have raced our way in. I feel like every time we run this race we’ve got some sort of drama with this year and last year, but have had a shot at it tonight. We will try to move forward and give ourselves the best chance we can.”
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Bowyer takes Open pole over Blaney

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