Junior dominates, makes all-star race

Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn’t need help from the fans to make the field for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.

Earnhardt Jr. turned in a dominating performance in the Sprint Showdown to snare a spot in the elite field on Saturday. AJ Allmendinger, who overcame a flat tire shortly before the green flag, finished second in the race and will also move into the all-star field.

"I gave it everything I had," Allmendinger said. "If I didn’t make it, I didn’t want it to be for lack of trying. Everybody in this organization, especially on the 22 car, they’re used to winning, used to being in this race. I wasn’t going to let them down. I was going to do everything I could to get in there. I was going to wreck trying."

Earnhardt Jr. pulled away from the field early and managed to go virtually unchallenged as Allmendinger and Jamie McMurray battled for second.

Earnhardt Jr. was pulling away from the field as the flag waved.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver, who led all 40 laps of the race, was pleased to race into the events and pointed out that he never counted on getting the vote to earn a berth.

"I feel real fortunate to have drove my way into the all-star race," Earnhardt Jr. said. "My fans have worked really hard to vote. I never assume that I’m going to win the vote. The fan support to me is a gift and I never take it for granted.

"We just feel real lucky to have an opportunity to race. We’re going to enjoy being a part of the all-star race, having earned our way in this year. I feel like our fans can appreciate that, as well."