Kasey Kahne took Daytona by storm on Independence Day, earning a last-second victory over Regan Smith in the Subway Firecracker 250.
The margin of victory between the No. 5 car and No. 7 car was the third-smallest in the history of the Daytona Speedway, according to All Access NASCAR:
Tonight's margin of victory of 0.021 seconds is the third closest at Daytona in series history and 8th closest all-time.— All Access NASCAR (@AcessAllNASCAR) July 5, 2014
Here's a great look at the conclusion of the race:
With Kahne's win in the books, here's a look at the race's final results:
|7||Darrell Wallace Jr.||20||0.177||0|
Kahne's burst to the finish line from the outside position sparked a giant reaction on Twitter.
Although, it was Smith who looked like he was headed to Victory Lane throughout the majority of the race.
Just after the midway point, Smith took the lead. However, fuel became an issue for Smith and many other leaders due to a late-race caution. Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted his thoughts during the race's waning laps:
I don't like where @ReganSmith is on fuel mileage at the moment. It's close.— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) July 5, 2014
Whether it was a fuel issue or just simply a great burst by Kahne down the final stretch, Smith relinquished his lead just before the checkered flag thanks to a great push from Ryan Sieg.
Kahne spoke of the boost after the race, via a tweet from ESPN's Marty Smith:
Kahne: Everything I did tonight was wrong. But at the end I got a huge push from the 39, ton of momentum.— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) July 5, 2014
Just in case anyone was wondering if the push from Sieg was a penalty, Jeff Gluck of USA Today took to Twitter to clarify the situation:
Replay shows Sieg pushed Kahne all the way thru turn to win. No penalty.— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) July 5, 2014
Mike Davis quickly looked into the past and reflected on the bit of redemption Kahne was awarded for his win on Friday night:
Redemption for Kahne after that crazy Talladega finish last year when Regan stole one from him.— Mike Davis (@MikeDavis88) July 5, 2014
It was a sweet win for Kahne, indeed. Here's a look at his celebration in Victory Lane, courtesy of Motor Racing Network:
So, what's next for Kahne after his victory?
Well, he's not getting much rest, as he's set to take to Daytona again on Saturday in the Coke Zero 400.
Kahne won't have a great advantage early, starting from the 14th position; however, after getting a great feel for the track on Friday night, it certainly wouldn't be surprising to see him make a push for the front of the pack once more.
Will he sweep the weekend?
That would depend on if his luck will continue. Kahne has a long—and unfortunate—history with being at the wrong place at the wrong time at Daytona. It sure seems that whenever there's a wreck, he seems to find his way into it.
Luckily for Kahne, that wasn't the case on Friday. He showed he can be a contender in races held on tracks like Daytona and Talladega if he's given the opportunity to finish without such a blemish.
Smith gave his insight into what this win means for the No. 5 car:
Kahne needed that. His confidence has been down at times this year. Huge win. Series matters not.— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) July 5, 2014
The competition will be stiff on Saturday, but Kahne has the confidence and momentum to earn another checkered flag before the weekend is over.