Kenseth takes Nationwide victory at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH — Matt Kenseth pulled away from traffic on the final restart of Friday night's NASCAR Nationwide series race, cruising to a comfortable win at Daytona International Speedway.

The Firecracker 250 was on pace to be one of the fastest in Daytona history until a late accident brought out a red-flag stoppage lasting nearly 10 minutes.

There were two laps remaining when the race resumed, and Kenseth paired up with defending truck series champion James Buescher on the restart. The two easily broke away from the pack, leaving everyone else racing for third place.

Kenseth and Buescher weren't challenged to the finish, with Kenseth staying in front.

It was quire a turn of events after the tandem of Sam Hornish and Joey Logano had dominated to lead 64 of the 101 laps.

"It didn't matter who I was pushing or who was pushing me, we couldn't run with those two," Kenseth said of Logano and Hornish. "But with (Buescher) pushing me, we could. We had speed. So it was important to keep him with me. He did a really good job getting us up to the lead and putting us in a position to try to win, so I wanted to make sure I stuck with him."

Third went to Elliott Sadler, who picked up a $100,000 bonus from series sponsor Nationwide as the highest-finishing driver in its "Dash 4 Cash" program. The cooling box in Sadler's car broke before the race, forcing him to finish on a steamy summer night with no air conditioning.

"It's hot, but that's what we train for. That's what we get ready for," said Sadler, who said he felt nauseous while sitting in the car during the red flag.

Kyle Busch on pole: Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Kenseth swept the front row in qualifying for tonight's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, with Busch turning a lap at 193.723 mph to earn the pole. Kenseth was second at 193.299.

Groundbreaking: Greg Biffle and Trevor Bayne combined to win an obstacle course challenge — involving construction equipment — as part of a ceremony kicking off the $400 million renovation of Daytona International Speedway.

NHRA: Fifteen-time series champion John Force led the first day of Funny Car qualifying at the Summit Racing Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, with a run of 4.021 seconds at 317.72 mph. Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Michael Ray (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also led their classes. Qualifying continues today.

American Le Mans Series: Lucas Luhr earned the pole for today's Northeast Grand Prix in Lakeville, Conn., with a lap of 119.524 mph in a Honda.

Kenseth takes Nationwide victory at Daytona 07/05/13 [Last modified: Saturday, July 6, 2013 12:24am]

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