Late surge gives Matt Kenseth Nationwide victory at Daytona
By: By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service, Superior Telegram
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- With a push from James Buescher, Matt Kenseth streaked away from the field after a restart with two laps remaining to win Friday night’s Subway Firecracker 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race in a green-white-checkered-flag finish that took the event one lap past its scheduled distance of 100 laps.
Buescher came home second, followed by Elliott Sadler, Kurt Busch and polesitter Austin Dillon. After dominating the majority of the event, Sam Hornish Jr. finished a disappointing seventh.
Sadler won the $100,000 Nationwide Dash 4 Cash bonus as the highest finisher among four eligible drivers.
The victory was the 26th of Kenseth’s career in the Nationwide Series and his first since May 2011 at Charlotte.
Joey Logano spent the first three quarters of the race pushing Hornish and seemed to have no difficulty with overheating, despite the sustained shoving. As a consequence, Hornish had led 56 laps by the time the field came to pit road on Lap 74 under the second caution of the night.
But Logano was first off pit road, and after the restart on Lap 78, Hornish was left without a partner and fell back through the field. Shortly thereafter, Logano dropped back to help his teammate, and together they began a steady climb toward the front.
On Lap 83, the Hornish-Logano tandem regained the top spot, only to lose it a lap later to Kenseth, who got a strong sustained push from Buescher. Hornish and Kenseth were battling side-by-side for the lead through Turn 2 when Mike Wallace stalled on the backstretch to cause the third caution of the race.
Three laps after a restart on Lap 94, a wild six-car wreck in Turn 4 -- ignited by contact mid-pack between the cars of Travis Pastrana and Cole Whitt -- stopped the race for track clean-up and set up the decisive green-white-checkered finish.