Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Wins at Daytona

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. survived a wild, wreck-filled race to collect his second-career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory with a win in Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

Stenhouse powered past race leader David Ragan with one lap to go in a final three-lap shootout for the win, holding off Clint Bowyer and Paul Menard at the stripe for his second victory of the season.

Michael McDowell and Ryan Newman made up the rest of the top five finishers.

Stenhouse's win comes just two months after he scored his first-career victory at Talladega back in May, giving him two-straight restrictor-plate victories and moving him into tie with Larson, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex, Jr. for second in the playoff standings.

"We won the Firecracker 400! This is awesome!" Stenhouse said. "I have been coming here since 2008. I actually came in 2006 one time with Bobby Hamilton Jr. and it is cool to put it in victory lane and get our second win this year. I love it! Thank you to the fans for coming out here. Everyone at NASCAR. What a great weekend.

"This validates what we did at Talladega. I kept my Talladega car and told (my team) to build a new one. They built a Fifth Third Ford that was really fast."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"] Saturday night's race was a battle of survival with a record 14 caution flags over the 163-lap distance, claiming many of the top contenders including Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

The biggest crash of the night came with just six laps to go after Larson got turned coming through the tri-oval and nearly flipped over, touching off a seven-car crash that brought out the red flag.

The crash set the stage for what was shaping up to be a five-lap dash to the checkered flag with Ty Dillon leading over Ragan, A.J. Allmendinger and Stenhouse.

On the restart, Allmendinger pushed Ragan just far enough ahead of Dillon for Ragan to slide up and take the top spot coming out of turn two, but almost as soon as the field made it to the backstretch, Erik Jones and Denny Hamlin spun to bring out the 14th and final caution – and bunched up the field for a green-white-checkered overtime finish.

Ragan lined up in the inside ahead of Stenhouse and McDowell for the restart while Dillon led the outside line with Allmendinger and Menard in tow. Ragan Dillon restarted side by side before Ragan pulled out by a car length on the backstraight.

With Dillon mounting a charge on the high side, Ragan moved up to block coming into turn three, opening the door for on the inside for Stenhouse who race to the front, pulling McDowell with him.

As the field took the white flag, it was Stenhouse out front ahead of McDowell and Dillon, but Dillon got shuffled out of line and Menard and Bowyer ducked under McDowell as they made the backstretch.

Stenhouse, Jr. (17) beats out Clint Bowyer (14) and Paul Menard (27) at Daytona
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

From there, Stenhouse hugged the bottom line and held off Menard through the final turn before Menard himself got edged by Bowyer for second at the stripe.

It was the second runner-up finish in a row for Bowyer, who came home second behind teammate Kevin Harvick last weekend at Sonoma.

"Second sucks, but it's better than third," Bowyer said. "We finished second two weeks in a row, so that's a huge confidence booster for our team. You hope you keep riding this wave and turn one of those seconds into a win."

Earnhardt, Jr., who was making what could be his final start at Daytona, started on the pole but cut a tire down on lap 52 and wound up a lap down.

Earnhardt, Jr. managed to battle back and re-claim his lap, but got caught up in a multi-car crash on lap 107 along with Harvick and Daniel Suarez, which brought his night to an end.

"I just didn't expect all that attention all week," said Earnhardt, Jr. "My phone buzzing all day long with social media going crazy. Everybody talking about this being my last Daytona race. I hope every weekend isn't like this as far as that goes. The attention and the reaction from the fans makes me feel great. Hopefully we are able to turn that around and back on them for the rest of the season and thank them for all they had done.

"I wish we had had a good finish tonight if not a win. We were working up in there and having a good time and being aggressive and wearing out the sides of that race car. It just wasn't to be."

In the points standings, Larson holds the top spot by 18 points over Truex, Jr., followed by Kyle Busch, Harvick and Keselowski.

Results

Fin Str No. Driver Team Laps Status
1 6 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fifth Thrid Bank Ford 163 Running
2 11 14 Clint Bowyer Mobil 1 Ford 163 Running
3 24 27 Paul Menard Moen/Menards Chevrolet 163 Running
4 23 95 Michael McDowell WRL General Contractors Chevrolet 163 Running
5 22 31 Ryan Newman Velveeta Shells & Cheese Chevrolet 163 Running
6 30 38 David Ragan Shriners Hospital for Children 95th Anniversary Ford 163 Running
7 32 75 Brendan Gaughan Beard Oil Distributing Chevrolet 163 Running
8 27 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet 163 Running
9 17 77 Erik Jones Sport Clips Toyota 163 Running
10 29 37 Chris Buescher Coffee Mate Chevrolet 163 Running
11 36 23 Corey LaJoie Dr Pepper Toyota 163 Running
12 12 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet 163 Running
13 28 32 Matt DiBenedetto Incredible Bank Ford 163 Running
14 8 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald's $1 Any Size Soft Drink Chevrolet 163 Running
15 31 43 Darrell Wallace Jr.(i) Smithfield Ford 163 Running
16 34 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Military Chevrolet 163 Running
17 20 19 Daniel Suarez Subway Toyota 163 Running
18 4 5 Kasey Kahne UniFirst Chevrolet 163 Running
19 26 34 Landon Cassill Love's Travel Stops Hnrng the Qt Prfssnl Ford 163 Running
20 16 18 Kyle Busch Interstate Batteries Toyota 163 Running
21 33 7 Elliott Sadler(i) Golden Corral Chevrolet 163 Running
22 2 24 Chase Elliott NAPA Patriotic Chevrolet 162 Running
23 14 6 Trevor Bayne Liberty National Life Insurance Company Ford 160 Running
24 18 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota 157 Accident
25 10 10 Danica Patrick Aspen Dental Ford 154 Accident
26 9 21 Ryan Blaney Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 154 Accident
27 13 20 Matt Kenseth DEWALT Flexvolt Toyota 154 Accident
28 15 41 Kurt Busch Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford 153 Accident
29 21 42 Kyle Larson Credit One Bank Chevrolet 153 Accident
30 37 55 Reed Sorenson RoyalTeakCollection.com Toyota 147 Running
31 3 2 Brad Keselowski Detroit Genuine Parts Ford 113 Accident
32 1 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Nationwide Chevrolet 106 Accident
33 5 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's Ford 105 Accident
34 25 78 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pros Shops/TRACKER BOATS Toyota 73 Accident
35 7 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 71 Accident
36 19 3 Austin Dillon American Ethanol Chevrolet 70 Accident
37 39 33 Jeffrey Earnhardt hulu Chevrolet 57 Engine
38 40 15 DJ Kennington Xchange of America/LordCo Toyota 14 Engine
39 35 72 Cole Whitt RTIC Coolers Chevrolet 9 Engine
40 38 83 Ryan Sieg(i) Dustless Blasting Toyota 7 Engine

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