Baseball, hot dogs, apple pies and Chevrolet are all classically associated with America, but shouldn’t NASCAR races under the lights of Daytona be on that list as well? Especially when they occur on the Fourth of July of all days?
Racing fans experienced just that Friday, as Kasey Kahne took home the checkered flag in impressive fashion in the Subway Firecracker 250. From Jared the Subway Guy screaming for the drivers to start their engines to the tightly contested race and photo finish at the end, there was plenty of energy and excitement during the Nationwide Series event.
Here is a look at the top 10 finishers and the updated 2014 Nationwide Series standings:
|7||Darrell Wallace Jr.||20||0.177||0|
Incredibly enough, Kahne's margin of victory of .021 seconds was the third smallest in the history of the Daytona Speedway.
Friday’s race may not have been the premier series, but notable names like Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Kahne participated among a field with some talented young drivers and gave it some extra buzz.
Wet conditions caused a 90-minute delay before the race started, which was particularly interesting given Darrell Wallace’s comments, via Jim Peltz of the Chicago Tribune: "With superspeedway tracks, things happen so quickly and we just need to keep ourselves out of trouble and be there at the end to have a chance for the win."
Logano may have been one of the marquee competitors Friday, but he didn’t get off to the best start, as Dustin Long of Motor Racing Network pointed out:
It was actually Elliott Sadler who got off to an impressive start in the first half of the race and established himself as one of the racers to beat, but he ran into a problem of his own. Motor Racing Network and NASCAR Nationwide filled fans in on what happened:
The middle portion of the race featured a number of cars near the front in what appeared to be a fairly clean run, but things got interesting on Lap 93. Long, NASCAR Nationwide, Joseph Wolkin of Speedway Digest and Fox Sports NASCAR highlighted the dangerous moments:
Caution out on Lap 93 for accident involving Gaughan. #NASCAR— NASCAR Nationwide (@NASCAR_NNS) July 5, 2014
Gaughan got tapped by Wallace and then the No. 62 lightly tapped Kwasniewski #NASCAR— Joseph Wolkin (@JosephNASCAR) July 5, 2014
Incredibly enough given how close the cars were, it didn't turn into a wreck involving the majority of the field.
It looked to clear up the field for an exciting final few laps, but there was a wreck on the restart after the caution. Sadler and David Ragan were involved in the incident.
Of course, no driver wants to see a wreck, but it certainly set the stage for an interesting finish, as Fox Sports NASCAR pointed out:
It looked like Regan Smith was on his way to victory, but Kahne came screaming to the finish line from the outside and took home the heart-stopping victory. However, Jeff Gluck of the USA Today noted that Kahne may have gotten some help:
Replay shows Sieg pushed Kahne all the way thru turn to win. No penalty.— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) July 5, 2014
Of particular interest with this win for Kahne is where he goes from here. He will participate in the Coke Zero 400 Saturday right back in Daytona, and it's not hard to imagine the momentum from Friday's performance carrying over.
The level of competition will take a step up, but getting a feel for the track certainly should help going forward. What's more, Kahne hasn't always put forth his best performances (or received the best luck) at Daytona, so a boost of confidence may be exactly what he needs.
Tune in Saturday to find out if that's the case.