DAYTONA BEACH, Fla– Matt Kenseth hung on to win the second stage in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver led 11 of the 40 laps in the second stage to score some much needed playoff points for the winless driver out of Wisconsin.
“It’s pretty aggressive.” Kenseth said. “Goodyear has a tire with a little-more grip and I think it’s got everybody leaving a whole bunch of extra room since we have a little more grip than normal.”
“Our DeWalt Camry is really fast. This is the best speedway car I’ve probably had since my first year at JGR, so excited about that. Hopefully, I can make the right moves the rest of the day and keep ourselves out front. I think we can contend, I think we have some speed.”
The second stage didn’t go without incident as the pole sitter and fan favorite, Dale Earnhardt Jr. hit the wall in turn two, cutting his right front tire. The contact with the wall damaged the right front fender, forcing the No.88 to pit and lost two laps in the process.
Then the inevitable struck, the dreaded word, “The Big One” struck with 10 laps remaining in the stage. Kyle Busch spun off turn two and backed into the outside wall where be made contact with the No.22 of Joey Logano, ending Logano’s night in the process. Martin Truex Jr, Austin Dillon, Paul Menard and Danica Patrick were also all involved.
The wreck set up a four lap shootout to finish the stage as Kenseth battled JGR teammate Denny Hamlin side by side for the top spot. On the final lap, Kenseth shot ahead and used his superspeedway prowess to hold on to the stage victory.
Hamlin finishes second, with 2013 race winner Jimmie Johnson in third. Kurt Busch and David Ragan complete the top- five.
Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Ty Dillon, Darrell Wallace Jr and Ryan Blaney round out the rest of the top- ten.
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Rence Brown is Race Chaser Online’s West Coast-based correspondent, who currently resides in California and carries a deep passion for NASCAR, but is a follower of multiple forms of auto racing across multiple disciplines.
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