DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Matt Kenseth capped off a successful day at Daytona International Speedway as he was pushed by second-place finisher James Buescher to a thrilling green-white-checkered finish win in the 12th annual Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola.
Kenseth, who qualified on the outside pole for Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola, started 19th in the No. 18 GameStop Toyota – the lowest starting position by a winner in this race. Kenseth quickly made his way into the top 10 and led 16 laps.
“We didn’t qualify as well as we hoped, but we got in the race and (the car) drafted really well,” Kenseth said. “We never had a solid plan worked out with anybody for the tandem.
“The 12 (Sam Hornish Jr.) and the 22 (Joey Logano) were definitely the strongest pair,” Kenseth continued. “I didn’t think anybody was going to beat them unless something happened to them. (I saw) James (Buescher) back there by himself and I slowed up and grabbed him and our two cars together – with him pushing my car – we were incredibly fast. Once I hooked up with him I felt like we had a shot (at the win). It’s fun to come back here and race again (in the Nationwide Series), it’s been awhile, and it’s always special to win at Daytona.”
The dedicated tandem of Hornish and Logano dominated the race leading a total of 64 laps with Hornish leading a race-high 61 laps of the 101-lap race. After getting shuffled back during the final restart, they finished seventh and ninth, respectively.
Third-place finisher Elliott Sadler won the first leg of the “Dash 4 Cash” program, which rewards the highest-finishing eligible driver in four designated races with a $100,000 bonus. Sadler, Brian Vickers, Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson were the first group of eligible drivers and Hornish will replace Vickers in that group for the next leg of the competition.
Polesitter Austin Dillon finished fifth. Dillon has qualified well at the “World Center of Racing” and continued that streak earlier today with a fast lap of 178.934 mph. It marked the second pole of his young career at the 2.5-mile tri-oval – his first pole coming in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2011. He has now qualified in the top five in four of his five starts at DIS.
Tickets to the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.
You can also catch the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola live from Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, July 6 at 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT, Motor Racing Network Radio and SiriusXM Radio with additional coverage on NASCAR.COM.
Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter (@NASCAR) and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags #NASCAR and #COKEZERO400. Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for the latest news all season long.