Matt Thacker / Motorsport Images
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chris Buescher, and Daniel Suarez advanced into the All-Star Race through the All-Star Open while Erik Jones won the fan vote.
Stenhouse led every lap and won the first stage to advance. He started on the front row after pole-sitter Tyler Reddick had to move to the rear for an unapproved adjustment.
The 20-lap first stage was caution free.
“We definitely got a fortunate circumstance there getting to go to the front row,” Stenhouse said. “Our No. 47 Viva Camaro took off really, really strong there. The Kroger team has been working really hard the last few weeks and we’ve been getting results, which is nice. Now we get to go race for one million dollars and be in the big show.
“We sat and watched it last year, so it feels really good. We’ll make some adjustments. I’ve got a better idea of what my car was doing there, so hopefully we can run up through the field.”
Buescher won the 20-lap second stage after taking the lead in a three-wide move in Turn 3 with eight laps to go. Buescher stuck to the bottom as Corey LaJoie started sliding up the track with Suarez on the outside. He led the rest of the way to the finish.
LaJoie inherited the race lead by staying out when the caution flew on lap six for a Landon Cassill crash. Cassill spun in Turn 4 and hit the wall with the rear of his No. 77.
On the restart, LaJoie took the bottom and Suarez the outside. Buescher restarted third on the inside lane.
“It is cool to be able to race our way in with our Fastenal Ford Mustang,” said Buescher. “That was some aggressive racing like we know it is going to be with these short runs when we come to the All-Star event. We got side-by-side there and when I saw him starting to slip up the hill I knew we had to commit.
“It was cool. I got a good push down the straightaway and had to be really protective into [Turn 1] and that grip was just starting to come in. I am curious to see where the end of this race goes and really excited for the All-Star race tonight.”
Suarez started the final 10-lap stage from the race lead with Reddick second. Reddick spun with nine laps to go in Turn 4, hitting the wall with the rear of his car and then Harrison Burton collided with him nose-to-nose on the frontstretch.
The race restarted with eight laps to go and Suarez led the rest of the way. He drove away from Austin Dillon and Justin Haley.
“I wish I only had to run 20 but we had to run all 50 (laps),” Suarez said. “All in all, just proud of my guys. Every time I’ve been a part of the All-Star Race it’s been a lot of fun, but what I love the most is the part about going out there and standing with people and the team, and everyone having a good time. I’m so happy I’m going to be able to do this with my guys and crew at Trackhouse Racing.”
Fan vote winner, Jones, finished fifth.