On the Fourth of July, it was only fitting that the Subway Firecracker 250 featured fireworks at the finish. An intense final two laps allowed many different players to emerge in the quest for victory. Once the checkered flag flew, it was JR Motorsports sweeping the top two spots as Kasey Kahne claimed victory. He barely edged out teammate Regan Smith who proved to be strongest throughout the night.
Compared to typical races at Daytona International Speedway, this one was on the calmer side. Only three cautions allowed for the blistering pace. In addition, very few cars suffered any damage as the entire race was fairly clean.
Joe Gibbs Racing was the team to beat early on. On Lap 8, Elliott Sadler took the lead and teammates Kyle Busch and Darrell Wallace Jr. fell in behind him. The trio broke up during the first round of green-flag pit stops. Busch and Wallace Jr. remained up front. However, Sadler had to make a second pit stop due to a vibration which put him behind.
Once the lead pack led by Busch approached the slower Sadler, Busch stepped out of line to assist the No. 11 car. This allowed Sadler to fall in with the pack and eventually earn his lap back during the first caution of the race.
The yellow-flag came out on Lap 51 for debris. It flew just as Smith had taken his first lead of the day. On the ensuing restart, he remained out front.
As the race neared its conclusion, fuel mileage became something all teams monitored. Chase Elliott restarted second with three laps to go when he had a problem with his car’s fuel pickup. This backed up the entire inside line which caused Sadler and David Ragan to spin through the infield grass.
On the restart, Smith led but had new faces surrounding him. The No. 7 car did a great job of holding off all challengers until the final push to the finish.
As he exited turn 4, he committed to the low side. Kahne had help from Ryan Sieg on the outside and he edged Smith out by a nose. This was his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory since 2007.
The victory was the third on the year and second straight for the No. 5 team. Kevin Harvick led them to victory lane at Kentucky Speedway last weekend.
Since the event was the qualifier for Nationwide’s ‘Dash 4 Cash’ incentive, the top four finishing series regulars will be eligible for a $100,000 bonus at New Hampshire Motor Speedway next weekend. Whoever places highest among Regan Smith, Ryan Sieg, Ryan Reed and Jeremy Clements will claim the money.
Next Saturday’s race at New Hampshire stands in sharp contrast to Daytona as the flat one-mile oval will provide for a short-track racing atmosphere.
Results via ESPN.com
|7||Darrell Wallace Jr.||Toyota||103||9||0||0||0||0|
|18||John Wes Townley||25||Toyota||103||27||0||0||0||0|
|31||Scott Lagasse Jr.||29||Toyota||101||28||0||13||0||0|
|40||Robert Richardson Jr.||Chevrolet||13||37||0||4||0||0|