[media-credit name=”David Yeazell” align=”alignright” width=”244″][/media-credit]Daytona, Fla – Tony Stewart overcame a qualifying penalty which sent him back to the 42nd starting position and won the Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night.
Stewart had a huge push from Kasey Kahne on the final lap and passed teammates Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle for his third win of the season.
Carnage broke out for the second time as they were coming off of turn-4 for the final time. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Terry Labonte, Aric Almirola, Jamie McMurray, Travis Kvapil and many others were involved.
“I don’t even remember what happened that last lap. Any time you win at Daytona it’s special.” Stewart said.
Roush Fenway Racing teammates Biffle and Kenseth remained a formidable duo on restrictor-plate tracks this season and dominated the race. They combined to lead 113 of the first 120 laps.
“I thought we were in perfect position. I did the best I could. It’s just disappointing we came up short because these guys gave me an awesome car.” Kenseth said. “I’m really disappointed. We thought we had one of the best cars. I was hoping it was gonna be me or the 16 in victory lane.”
Jimmie Johnson was spun and hit the inside wall hard while trying to reach the pits under green for what would have been his final pit stop on lap 123. “That wasn’t too bad,” said Johnson, who hasn’t finished in the top 10 at Daytona in three years. “My angle with the wall was forgiving. We just don’t have the best luck on these plate tracks.”
Despite being in two accidents, Jeff Gordon finished 12th. Gordon was involved in the same accident as teammate Johnson was. Gordon was ahead of Johnson but the pack started wrecking behind Gordon as he slowed to enter pit road. Gordon was collected and sent into the infield grass.
NASCAR announced that A.J. Allmendinger’s was under a temporary suspension for a failed drug test less than two hours before the green flag. Penske Racing scrambled and flew Sam Hornish in to take his place. Hornish arrived at 7:25 p.m. and was buckled into the No. 22 Dodge less than 25 minutes later, joining the field just as it completed its first pace lap.
“Right before I was about to do the last segment on my SPEED TV show I got a call from Mike Nelson while I was in the studio and all that I could think about was that he was calling to harass me about my tie. Obviously, that’s not the case. I called Walt Czarnecki and he said that they needed me to come down to Daytona for the race.” Hornish said. Hornish blew a tire during the race and finished 33rd.
After skipping practice on Thursday with a sore back, Denny Hamlin was back in his No. 11 Toyota and finished 25th after starting 23rd.
|Unofficial Race Results|
|Coke Zero 400, Daytona International Speedway|
|15||–||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||29|
|17||–||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||28|
|33||–||22||Sam Hornish Jr.||Dodge||0|
|38||–||26||Josh Wise *||Ford||7|
|42||–||33||Stephen Leicht *||Chevrolet||2|