Regan Smith dominated the Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway, but it was his JR Motorsports teammate who did the celebrating in victory lane. It took a last-lap pass, but Kasey Kahne got the job done and celebrated underneath the fireworks on Independence Day.
Smith led 47 of the 103 laps and looked like he was a lock to take the checkered flag as he went off into turn three for the final time with a four car-length lead over second place. Kyle Larson and Kahne battled side-by-side for second as they tried to close in on Smith.
Kahne was pushed all the way through turns three and four by Ryan Sieg and closed on Smith. Kahne got to the outside of Smith who had Larson all the way at the bottom. Kahne won the drag race back to the line by 0.021 second over Smith. He led just one lap all race long and it was the last one.
He said in victory lane that he struggled in this race. "Everything I did tonight was wrong," he said. But in the end he made the correct moves and went from seventh to first in the final two laps.
The win continues JR Motorsports streak as the only team to win on a Friday night in Nationwide Series competition in 2014.
But one has to wonder why the win as allowed to stand. NASCAR made a rule preseason that drivers cannot "hook-up" and push draft, however they can do a traditional bump draft. NASCAR penalized two drivers earlier in the race for push drafting who were running near the back of the pack. But it seemed on the final lap that it was a free-for-all when it came to push drafting. Sieg told MRN after the race that he was pushing Kahne all the way through the final corners.
Regardless, the win stands and Kahne has his first win of 2014. It's also his first restrictor-plate win in 67 starts between Sprint Cup and Nationwide competition although he did score a win in the Budweiser Duels in 2010.
1) Kasey Kahne
2) Regan Smith
3) Ryan Sieg
4) Ryan Reed
5) Kyle Larson
6) Joey Logano
7) Darrell Wallace Jr.
8) Jeremy Clements
9) Trevor Bayne
10) Mike Wallace