Aric Almirola won Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Open at Texas Motor Speedway, joining stage winners Ross Chastain and Tyler Reddick in transferring into the NASCAR All-Star Race.
Chastain led just the last two laps in the first 20-lap segment, putting his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet into the night’s main event (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM). The second 20-lap stint went to Reddick, who started his No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevy from the pole position and held off Almirola down the stretch. Almirola took command of the final 10-lap shootout to put his No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford in the All-Star Race.
Tyler Reddick led the first 18 laps before giving way to Chastain, finishing second in the opening stage. Corey LaJoie took third, followed by Matt DiBenedetto and Almirola.
“Yeah, I get to race with my heroes. It’s really cool,” said Chastain, who started at the rear of the field after an air-duct violation found in pre-race inspection. “It’s been a good weekend on-track, but off-track has obviously been really tough. It just fired me up more, though. This McDonald’s Chevy was obviously really good to come from the back like that and race with guys like Reddick and those guys. I thought I was getting turned on the backstretch there when he drove in the left rear. It’s a dream come true. I’m living my dream as a farmer and now I get to go NASCAR racing in the All-Star Race with my heroes. It’s amazing.”
With Chastain in the garage with starting spot secured, Reddick took control in Stage 2 and led all the way. Almirola finished second with DiBenedetto, Chris Buescher and Austin Cindric in tow.
Almirola led the final 10 laps to land his All-Star berth, followed by DiBenedetto, Buescher, Chase Briscoe and Cindric.
“It just helps make you happy about something,” Almirola said. “It has been a really tough year and the guys just continue to work their guts out and bring the best cars we can. Here at Texas today we have a really fast car. We took the long way in but I am glad we are racing for a million bucks tonight. I am thankful to all our partners that continue to stick behind us, even through the bad times.”
The 21st and final All-Star starting spot went to DiBenedetto as the top vote-getter in fan balloting who had not already qualified for the main event.
RELATED: DiBenedetto wins All-Star Fan Vote
Three caution periods slowed the early action, just in the Open’s first round. Bubba Wallace brought out the first yellow flag on Lap 4 with a solo spin through Turn 2. Buescher also looped around through Turn 3 after contact from Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in a Lap 8 restart. All drivers continued without major damage. Buescher had been mired back after a penalty for jumping the initial start, beating pole-starter Reddick to the green flag.
Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez were both sidelined after completing just 13 laps. Jones lost control of his No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet while racing Briscoe through Turns 3 and 4, then was clobbered by the No. 99 Trackhouse Racing Chevy of Suarez.