DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kasey Kahne nipped Regan Smith at the Daytona International Speedway finish line Friday night for his first Nationwide Series victory since 2007.
Kahne weaved his way through traffic during a two-lap overtime sprint to the finish but didn’t appear to be in the mix for a shot at the win as Smith pulled away from the pack. But as the field hurtled through the final turn, Kyle Larson jumped out of line and made it three-wide behind Smith.
Kahne moved into the top lane and, using a push from Ryan Sieg, charged alongside Smith and beat him to the line by .021 second.
Everything I did tonight was wrong – I looked in my mirror and would be like Go’ and then decide not to and it’d be the right move, Kahne said. I didn’t really do a whole lot right, but at the end, I got a big push from (Sieg) and was able to get by Regan there. Just had tons of momentum there coming off turn four and had a fast car.
Smith couldn’t offer a better last-lap strategy than the one he used.
If I go up any higher, we probably all wreck right there, Smith said. I don’t know how to do it any different. I’ll have to study the tape and see where I messed up. I had a pretty good sized gap, but at that point you can’t crack the throttle or drag the brake. I lost just enough momentum that it didn’t quite work out.
It was the sixth win this season for JR Motorsports, and second consecutive following Kevin Harvick’s victory last week at Kentucky.
Smith, one of JR Motorsports’ two full-time drivers, wound up second and reclaimed the series points lead from Elliott Sadler.
Sieg was a career-best third.
NHRA: In Norwalk, Ohio, points leader Doug Kalitta led Top Fuel qualifying in the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals with a run of 3.771 seconds at 326.48 mph.
Del Worsham topped the Funny Car field, points leader Erica Enders-Stevens took the Pro Stock lead, and Eddie Krawiec was the fastest in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Worsham had a track-record time of 4.000 at 317.34 in a Toyota Camry, Enders-Stevens had a track-record run of 6.523 at 212.63 in a Chevrolet Camaro, and Krawiec had a track-record time of 6.844 at 195.05 on a Harley-Davidson.