As the race drew to a close, everyone was looking to put themselves in position and grab the top spot at the front of the field. For the majority of the race, the Penske duo of Sam Hornish Jr. and Joey Logano had led the field.
However, with six laps to go, they would get slightly separated. That allowed Matt Kenseth and James Buescher to get by before the caution flew for a multi-car wreck in turns three and four.
Travis Pastrana thought that he was clear of Cole Whitt and tried to slide down behind teammate Trevor Bayne, however Pastrana judged wrong, resulting in contact to be made.
“Our plan was to wait in the back and avoid that kind of stuff,” Pastrana said. “I knew that we had to get through there and I caught the front of the 44 and ended up in the wall. That’s racing. It’s just frustrating. We had high expectations.”
Also caught up in the wreck was Jeffery Earnhardt, Jamie Dick, Travis Pastrana, Robert Richardson Jr., Jason White and Eric McClure. Everybody would be okay.
On the restart, James Buescher would once again Matt Kenseth ahead of the field and the pair would pull away, handing the victory to Kenseth. It marks Kenseth’s 27th Nationwide Series victory, his first victory of 2013.
“The 22 and the 12 were together all night,” Kenseth said. “No matter who I was working with, I couldn’t keep up with them. but with the 34 pushing me, we were able to work together up there so I wanted to stick with him.
“I got to thank Nationwide for this series. It’s fun to come back here and special to win at Daytona.”
It marked the first win for crew chief Matt Lucas after joining Joe Gibbs Racing over the off-season.
“The 18 team all came together at the last minute,” Kenseth continued. “Thank Game Stop and Dollar General for coming together so we can run some races. Matt has been giving me good cars every week and I felt that we were getting closer.”
Buescher would cross the line in second for his first Nationwide Series top 10 of the 2013 season.
“When Matt lost his drafting partner inside the top 10, I was kind of relieved because that was brought us together,” Buescher said. “I had to stay with him all night. he did a nice job driving up through there and getting us to the front. He was the one car that we could push for a long period of time.”
Elliott Sadler would finish third to pick up the Dash for Cash bonus check after qualifying for it virtue of his top five at Iowa Speedway. It marks his fourth top 10 at Daytona in nine series starts.
“I got to thank Cole Trickle (Kurt Busch) for pushing there as we worked well together,” Sadler said. “That was a good race. Got to thank Nationwide for this opportunity. I am glad to make it to the end.”
Kurt Busch, running a Cole Trickle Days of Thunder paint scheme, would finish fourth after leading some laps mid-race. With it being Busch’s final Nationwide Series start with Phoenix Racing, the plan to bring back the paint scheme was brought forth with Busch, Phoenix Racing and Rick Hendrick. The team played off the movie lines all night long, using them on the radio in the midst of competition, as well as eating ice cream in the pits.
“It was a great race,” Busch said. “With all the fun, you had to separate with what we had to focus on strategy, working on the race and then jump back into movie quotes. It was great to do this and be able to drive for Phoenix Racing for one last time. It was also great to have Rick Hendrick’s blessing and be able to raise this money for the troops and PTSD.
“I was hoping I would’ve got this car in victory lane to have a foot race with Harry on pit road.”
Pole sitter Austin Dillon would round out the top five in fifth.
Kyle Larson finished sixth, followed by Sam Hornish Jr., Regan Smith, Joey Logano and Trevor Bayne.
Kyle Busch would finish 11th, followed by Justin Allgaier and Brian Vickers. Vickers was leading the race with 22 laps to go when Kenseth would give him a shot, resulting in Vickers going for a ride through the grass.
Regan Smith now leads the standings, six points over Sam Hornish Jr.