CUP: Stenhouse Survives An Action Packed Race To Win At Daytona

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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wins at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night. (Matt Sullivan/Getty Images North America)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla– After 3 hours and 20 minutes, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. survives a wild, caution filled Saturday night to win the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway for his second win of the season.

Stenhouse, won the last super speedway event at Talladega Superspeedway in May and used that momentum and experience to hold off a hungry field for the victory.

The race went into overtime after Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones spun into the grass on the back straightaway with three laps to go. On the ensuing restart, David Ragan and Ty Dillon brought the field back to the green flag. Ragan held on in the early moments of the restart, until going into turn three, Stenhouse Jr. used his well timed run to pass the No.38 for the race lead and never looked back.

 “I left the bottom open for the 13 and I thought I gave the race away there.” Stenhouse Jr. “These guys, we won Talladega and went to Daytona with a new one and they built a Fifth-Third Ford that was really fast.”
“We won the Firecracker 400. That’s awesome! Been coming down here since 2008 and came in 2006 one time with Bobby Hamilton Jr. and it’s cool to put it in victory lane here winning it this year. Thank you for coming out here, everybody at NASCAR. Woo, America, 1776, we are champs!”

In his final full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Daytona, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the pole and led the field to the green flag. The lead quickly faded as teammate Chase Elliott took the lead away from the fan favorite. Earnhardt Jr. rallied back to the lead, only to then be passed by Brad Keselowsi. Keselowski led 35 of 40 laps to win the opening stage.

The clean racing soon came to a halt as in the second stage, the carnage and cautions began to pile up. Early into the second stage, Earnhardt Jr. ran into the turn two wall and cut his right front tire, in the process he sustained damage to the body work and lost two laps on pit road for repairs.

With 10 laps left in the second stage, “The Big One” a term used for a massive wreck involving multiple cars, struck. Kyle Busch got loose on the exit of turn two, spinning out in front of the field collecting Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr, Austin Dillon, Danica Patrick and Paul Menard. For Truex Jr, Logano, Dillon and Patrick’s race ended after the crash with too much damage.

Matt Kenseth held on to win stage two.

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