Redemption: Regan Smith wins thrilling finish at Daytona International Speedway
After a thrilling finish to end the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide series; fresh faces and veterans alike kicked off the 2014 NNS season at Daytona International Speedway.
With the new qualifying sessions beginning for the first time, rookie Dylan Kwasniewski earned the pole.
There were a handful of cup drivers led by Danica Patrick and Friday night winner, Kyle Busch.
Early on it was Busch who took the lead on the first lap but quickly dropped to the bottom which like the truck race the night before was the stronger of the two lines.
Caution waved early for Harrison Rhodes who lost an engine and Jason White who sun through the oil laid on the track by Rhodes. Some of the pack came to pit road for a mixed bag of rights and fuel, fuel only or four tires.
Busch took fuel and would lose the lead to Jamie Dick who did not pit. Trouble for Busch’s teammate Matt Kenseth who received damage on pit road.
Dick would lead the field to the green along with Dale Earnhadt, Jr. who also did not pit. Earnhardt would quickly take the lead over Busch who restarted third.
After the restart the field stayed mainly double wide with some drivers attemting to take it three wide at times. Some veteran drivers dropped to the rear like Regan Smith, Kenseth and Patrick.
Earnhardt was forced to pit without the rest of the pack and coupled with a slow stop under green. It cost them valuable track position and time on the track.
Busch went back to the lead as the next round of pit stops were coming for the rest of the field.
The lead pack began to hit pit road wthout major issues for the leaders. Busch retook the lead with some changes in the top five after those stops. Earnhardt without the draft was running 20th and losing time to the leaders.
Caution waved on lap 70 for debris when the safer barrier foam came out. The leaders hit pit road in what a fairly clean round of stops. Ty Dillon though got a speeding penalty after he took the lead away from Busch on pit road.
Kenseth also got a penalty for too many men over the wall as they were trying to fix the damage received early in the race.
Busch would lead the the field on the restart but Regan Smith would take over the lead but the first penalty of the day for “pushing” was for James Buescher.
Caution waved again for debris as the laps were winding down. Smith would maintain the lead but the positioning for a big push was already beginning.
With 24 laps remaining, Smith was in a similar position as last year. This year he was hoping to make it to victory lane.
Ryan Seig got a little help when he spun with 21 laps to go. Nobody else was involved in the spin .
On the restart the outide line finally started moving with Brad Keselowski leading the charge. Keselowski would take the lead with 10 laps to go.
Caution waved with four laps to go as Chad Boat spun along with Eric McClure. The field took the restart with two laps to go.
The finish was worth the wait as Keselowski and Smith battled side by side to the line. After wrecking with the win in his grasp last year at DIS, Smith beat Keselowski to the checkered flag by 0.013 seconds.
The rest of the top 10 were Keselowski, Busch, Trevor Bayne, Elliott Sadler, Brendan Gaughan, Dillon, Kwasniewski, Sieg and Larson.
Next up the series heads to Phoenix International Raceway, next Saturday afternoon on ESPN.
Read last nights recap to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Here: http://ow.ly/tTxgS