Hornish wins Sprint Showdown

CONCORD, N.C. -- Sam Hornish Jr. continued his monthlong surge Saturday night, winning the Sprint Showdown to earn a transfer spot into NASCAR's All-Star race.

It's the second consecutive year Hornish has raced his way into the $1 million main event at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He finished second a year ago to A.J. Allmendinger to earn one of the two transfer spots.

"I wish we didn't have to race our way in again, but it feels good," said Hornish, who notched the first top 10 of his NASCAR career at Phoenix last month and added another three weeks ago in Richmond.

"I was really happy how everything worked out for us. I love coming here and running at Lowe's. It's been a real fun track for me ever since we came and ran the All-Star Race last year."

Jamie McMurray finished second to earn the other transfer position, but wasn't sure he deserved a spot.

"It's embarrassing when you don't get to be in the All-Star race," McMurray said. "Tonight when I was in my bus getting ready, I was just like 'God, I just don't want to go home early tonight. I just want to get to race.' It's a really big deal to be able to race in this.

"But honestly, in my opinion, if you don't win a race I don't think you should get to be in the All-Star race. I think it should be about winners, and if you don't win a race over the last year, I think they should just give the other guys the weekend off."

Joey Logano was the third driver to advance into the race in the slot reserved for a driver voted into the All-Star race by fans.

Jeremy Mayfield, suspended by NASCAR last week for failing a random drug test, watched the Showdown from the top of a hospitality center. His No. 41 Mayfield Motorsports entry was driven to a 22nd-place finish by J.J. Yeley.

In the hours leading up to the race, a plane pulled a "Free Jeremy" banner around the track in an apparent nod of support to the first driver suspended under NASCAR's toughened drug policy. Mayfield was suspended indefinitely for a test taken May 1 at Richmond International Raceway.

The suspension covers Mayfield's role as owner, so the No. 41 was transferred to Mayfield's wife, Shana, earlier this week.