Despite finishing only 16th in the All-Star race, Sam Hornish Jr was happy to celebrate his first NASCAR win after taking victory in the Sprint Showdown qualifying race.
The former IndyCar champion passed his Penske team-mate David Stremme just as the second 20-lap segment of the race started.
Both of them, together with the top-six runners at that point, had elected to stay on the track at the halfway mark when the caution waved to allow for optional pitstops.
After taking the lead, Hornish pulled away while Jamie McMurray followed in a distant second place. The former Indianapolis 500 winner then claimed his first NASCAR victory since he first competed in one of the national series back in 2006. He moved one better from last year after he had finished second in the 2008 Sprint Showdown.
"I wish we didn't have to race our way in again, but it feels good," said Hornish, whose victory qualified him for the All-Star race. "I was really happy how everything worked out for us. The car was excellent tonight, as usual. 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.
"I knew we had a pretty good car in practice. I had a lot of fun racing out there tonight. The car was really good. It was the first time I've ever won anything in a stock car, so I was pretty happy about that."
Later during the All-Star race Hornish lost control of his car in the early going of the third segment, making contact with Greg Biffle and the wall. Biffe retired from the race, while Hornish carried on to complete the final segment in 16th place.