All-Star Open: DiBenedetto wins Stage 3, Clint Bowyer wins fan vote

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Matt DiBenedetto led all 15 laps to win the final stage of the All-Star Open and clinch a spot in the All-Star Race.

DiBenedetto beat Clint Bowyer, Austin Dillon, Chris Buescher and Ty Dillon.

DiBenedetto joined William Byron and Aric Almirola in advancing through stage wins. Bowyer was announced as being the winner of the fan vote, advancing him to the All-Star Race.

This is DiBenedetto’s first time to compete in the All-Star Race.

“I was hanging on for dear life,” DiBenedetto told FS1. “We were so loose on entry. I was right on (the) ragged edge. Just thankful to the team for battling back. My gosh, we had big damage there at the start. Had to fix it. … So proud to be driving this thing.”

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Stage 2

Byron led all 35 laps and won Stage 2 of the All-Star Open, locking him into the All-Star Race.

Byron beat DiBenedetto by just over two seconds. The top five was completed by Austin Dillon, Bowyer and Christopher Bell.

Byron was one of two drivers who did not pit in the first two stages, including Ty Dillon.

Byron’s stage win means all four of Hendrick Motorsports’ cars will be in the main event.

Ryan Preece and rookie John Hunter Nemechek made contact and spun in Turn 1 a few laps into the stage. They were able to continue

STAGE 1

Almirola won the first stage of Wednesday night’s All-Star Open, advancing him to the All-Star Race.

Almirola led 25 of the stage’s 35 laps around Bristol Motor Speedway and beat Byron and Ty Dillon.

Michael McDowell, who started first, and Bubba Wallace wrecked with 18 laps to go in the stage. Wallace was trying to pass McDowell going into Turn 3 when McDowell tagged Wallace’s right rear, turning him into the outside wall.

Wallace, who was a favorite to win the fan vote to get into the All-Star Race was eliminated and McDowell continued, though with significant damage.

“Just disrespect when you get hooked into the wall,” Wallace told FS1. “I don’t even need to see a replay. … People say (McDowell’s) one of the nicest guys in the garage. Can’t wait for the God-fearing text he that he’s going to send me about preaching and praising and respect. What a joke he is.”