CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Clint Bowyer qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship in 2013, but he did not win a race last year. As a result, he had to try and earn a spot in the Sprint All-Star Race through the Sprint Showdown on Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. And that is exactly what he did with a victory.
A.J. Allmendinger finished second to also qualify for the All-Star race.
While no one was surprised by Bowyer's victory, the racing world was in shock with the announcement that Josh Wise won the fan vote, and not Danica Patrick, for a spot in the All-Star race field on Saturday night.
"I'm still trying to wrap my head around this," said Wise, who was quick to thank all of his new fans at Reddit.com.
In March, Reddit raised 67.8 million Dogecoins -- a cypoto-currency that equates to $55,000 to help Wise and the Phil Parsons Racing team run the Talladega race.
Dogecoins and Redditt.com are again sponsoring Wise this weekend.
"This is a big deal for our sport," Wise said. "There are a lot of young kids on this site who are just learning about our sport.
"I understand that 110 million people around the world use this site, so I felt it (winning the fan vote) was definitely a possibility. But this is still a little bit of a shock.
"This is a big deal for our team, too. Hopefully, it will help us build a better team (through more sponsorship)."
Wise, who started his racing career in open-wheel racing, has competed in only 79 Sprint Cup races with a career-best finish of 19th.
Bowyer admitted he had never heard of Reddit.com until "just recently. But, obviously, there are a lot of people who use it to make this happen. Congratulations, Josh."
Bowyer, who has won eight Cup races during his career, also admitted he was "not thrilled about being in this race. But this is a humbling sport and we had to run this race to qualify to be an All-Star.
"We've been really fast in practice this year, but haven't been able to back it up in the race. We've had a lot of meetings this week to figure out what we needed to do. Tonight, the car backed up what we felt in practice. Hopefully, this is the start of us getting back to where we need to be."
Allmendinger, who started second, grabbed the lead on lap one, but Bowyer ran his down and took over the top spot on lap 19.
Bowyer was the leader as the yellow flag came out on lap 20 for the mandatory break. His team decided to change all four tires on the ensuing pit stop, but he came off pit road in sixth place as Michael Annett elected not to pit and pole-sitter Austin Dillon, Paul Menard, Allmendinger and Patrick changed only two tires.
Dillon quickly grabbed the lead on the restart, but Bowyer wasted no time reclaiming the top spot by the 24th lap.
Allmendinger also got by Dillon on the same lap to move into second place.
Marcos Ambrose, recovering from a wild slide on lap two, moved into third on lap 26. But Ambrose was unable to gain on the top two and eventually lost the third spot to Casey Mears on lap 37 of the 40-lap event.
Ambrose ended up fourth, followed by Aric Almirola, Kyle Larson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Dillon, Menard and Patrick.