It was checkers or wreckers, it seemed, for everyone on Saturday night as Kevin Harvick held off Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon in a green white checker finish to score the victory in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona.
Kevin Harvick put the No. 29 Shell Pennzoil Chevrolet into the winners circle after an action-packed, wild night of racing at the World's Center of Racing, Daytona International Speedway.
Kevin Harvick is a solid contender for his first Sprint Cup Series Championship and now has two wins on the season, taking the victory at the last restrictor plate race at Talladega in April over Jamie McMurray.
The race was rain delayed until after 9 pm eastern time on Saturday night, but once the drivers took to the race track it was a wild, intense race at Daytona.
Kevin Harvick started from pole because qualifying was rained out on Friday. The competition caution came out at lap 15 and tires would start to become a issue on the night with several drivers but with the bigger restrictor plate and spoiler back that made for a great race on Saturday night.
At lap 58 the second caution came for J.J. Yeley and debris from a cut tire, and a few laps later on lap 67 AJ Allemendinger would get spun and hit the inside wall off turn four.
Kyle Busch, who had a dominant car for the first half of the race, looked very strong and in contention for possibly a win at Daytona but on lap 103 going down the backstretch he got hooked by the No. 42 of Juan Montoya and that sent Busch hard into the wall, ending his night.
The night would only continue to get more exciting as time was running out for drivers to start making moves. Caution flew for the fifth time on lap 116 when the No. 6 UPS Ford of David Ragan spun like he did in practice and collected Martin Truex Jr and Daytona 500 Champion Jamie McMurray, both of whom were having good runs.
As time ran out, so did driver patience as another crash at lap 142 collected Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin, and the big one, as so many have seen, occurred on lap 148. That wiped half the field out going into turn three and turn four with Jimmie Johnson being collected. Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, and several other drivers were involved, ending their night or suffering damage.
After the red flag, the race was restarted. With only a few laps to go, the caution came out again after the restart as the field was coming off turn four to take the white flag. Sam Hornish Jr went three wide with Kurt Busch and Elliott Sadler; they would crash, but somehow Kurt Busch, who was involved in three wrecks on the night, was still going.
The final restart and green-white checker saw Clint Bowyer as the leader, going with Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, and Kasey Kahne shooting for position. But Bowyer would get shuffled out after Gordon made a power move off turn two, and on the white flag lap Clint Bowyer got hooked by David Reutimann into the grass on the backstretch, but no caution as Harvick held off Kasey Kahne for the win.
This was the final race on the old pavement as Daytona will be completely repaved following the pot hole problem at this year's Daytona 500 back in February. Kevin Harvick remains atop the points standings, but several drivers lost or gained tonight as it was a tough night for several drivers.
Coke Zero 400 Results From Daytona International Speedway.
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Kasey Kahne
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr
5. Jeff Burton
6. Carl Edwards
7. Kurt Busch
8. Reed Sorenson
9. Mike Bliss
10. Scott Speed
11. David Reutimann
12. Robby Gordon
13. Steve Park
14. Kevin Conway
15. Matt Kenseth
A great run for several drivers in the top 15 on Saturday night. Several drivers gained or lost points in the standings as Jeff Gordon moves into second place behind leader Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch lost some spots. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads off to Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois for the LifeLock.com 400 next Saturday night on TNT starting at 6:30 pm ET.
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