Kahne Edges Smith at Daytona

Kasey Kahne

The Margin of Victory of tonight's race (0.021) is the third closest NNS finish at Daytona and eighth all-time in series history. (Photo: Getty Images)

Race Results

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Kasey Kahne nipped JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith at the finish to win Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide race at Daytona International Speedway.

Kahne, who restarted eighth on the green-white-checkered restart, led only the last lap. His margin of victory was .021 seconds - the third closest finish in series history at Daytona.

“The last half a lap I had tons of momentum,’’ Kahne said after his eighth career series win. “The cars in front of me moved the right direction.’’

Smith, who led 47 of the 103 laps, finished second.

“Sorry you didn’t win there,’’ co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. radioed Smith. “You did a helluva job.”

Rookie Ryan Sieg was a career-best third. Ryan Reed placed a career-high fourth. Kyle Larson was fifth.

“It was a win for us to come back to Daytona and get my career best finish,’’ Sieg said.

The four drivers qualifying for next week’s Nationwide Dash 4 Cash are Smith, Sieg, Reed and Jeremy Clements, who placed eighth. The top finisher among those four next week at New Hampshire will win $100,000.

Smith said he thought he was OK as he led in the middle of Turn 3 on the last lap. Then victory went away.

“For whatever reason a lot of big runs were coming off the corner tonight, my car was the same way,’’ Smith said. “I figured there would be a little bit of a run there. I went up to block (Larson) and he went more to the middle of the race track. I didn’t want to give him the bottom because I was afraid he was going to try and swoop back down and get inside of me. In the process of getting bogged down with him, (Kahne) he just got a huge run on the outside ... and he was able to nip us there.’’

Kahne credited Sieg with following him and bumping him. Sieg said he pushed Kahne, but Kahne said Sieg was bumping him.

NASCAR does not permit Nationwide cars to push each other - and penalized Josh Wise and Landon Cassill earlier in the race for it. So why wasn’t Sieg or anyone else penalized on the last lap?

“That last lap there a car will close on another car and the accordion will close up and make tight quarters (between cars),’’ said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition. “Cars moving side to side ... tells you that they’re not directly connected.’’

Pemberton said that with this being the final restrictor-plate race of the season, series officials will examine the policy for next year.

Smith’s consolation from Friday’s race was that he took the points lead from Elliott Sadler, who had to pit for a loose wheel and was collected in an incident before finishing 21st. Smith leads Sadler by 12 points.

               

Race Center

Dover 200

@ Dover Int'l Speedway
Saturday, September 27, 2014 3:00 PM
Radio Start:
MRN, 3 p.m. (ET)
TV Start:
ESPN2, 3:30 p.m. (ET)

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