Keselowski Dominates to Win at Daytona

by Tucker White On Sat, Jul. 02, 2016

Brad Keselowski celebrates victory at Daytona. Photo: Noel Lanier/

It was a dominant day for Brad Keselowski in a carnage-filled race at the “World Center of Racing” as he held off an overtime charge from the likes of the Busch brothers and teammate Joey Logano to score the victory in the Coke Zero 400.

“Those guys were doing a heck of a job,” Keselowski said of the Busch brothers and Logano. “Kyle and Kurt worked together really well, and my teammate Joey Logano was a huge part of this today. We had two great cars here with Team Penske and worked together really well. Joey has won here and he’s really a pro, especially on that restart. He gave me that push I need to get to the front and here we are at Daytona in Victory Lane. I don’t care if it’s not the 500. It’s Daytona. This is huge. I love this place and here we are in Victory Lane with the Detroit Ford.”

The driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford led 115 of the 161 laps on his way to scoring his 20th Sprint Cup Series victory in 250 starts. It’s his third victory and 11th top-10 finish in 2016, his third victory this season, and his first at Daytona International Speedway. Keselowski’s victory is the 100th victory in Sprint Cup Series competition for Team Penske.

Kyle Busch, who wrecked his primary car in practice the day before and had turned no laps of practice in his backup car, led 16 laps and posted his 11th top-10 finish of the season and his eighth in 23 races at Daytona with a runner-up finish in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

“It was really close to Talladega,” Busch said of the final laps. “We finished second at Talladega. Just there at the end of the race, the 2 car was really, really fast. Really, really strong. It’s really hard to get by him. I tried just about everything. The only thing I didn’t quite have was a big enough push one time to just try to make a move. He was really good at making that thing pretty wide.”

Trevor Bayne earned his third top-10 finish in 12 races at Daytona in rounding out the podium in his No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.

“I owe the guys behind me that were pushing me,” Bayne said. “I had a lot of help. The race was really crazy today. Just watching some of the guys working the middle you knew there would be trouble at some point. My spotter has a better perspective than I do (and) told me to go to the back and ride and we did and got through some wrecks. It was a tough night.”

Logano led six laps on his way to a fourth-place finish in his No. 22 Penske Ford. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rounded out the top-five in his No. 17 RFR Ford.

Kyle Larson finished sixth in his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

“I got a little bit better restart than I thought I would, through (Turns) 1 and 2 and was able to get to Joey inside. I got clear of the No. 22 down the back and the No. 17 shoved me and gave me a really good (push), but it kind of got me squirrely and stalled me out. I should have probably moved up in front of him (Logano). But I knew we had a good night going so I didn’t want to risk anything. So, me messing up on the backstretch probably ruined our shot at a win, but we still finished at Daytona, so that’s good,” said Larson.

Austin Dillon finished seventh in his No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.

“I don’t know about track position but I thought that 2 car was pretty darn stout,” Dillon said. “He was the same way at Talladega and you just can’t get to his back bumper. He does a good job of keeping that bumper and that car is fast, so I really think fast cars pay off here and win races. We are getting closer, we just have to keep working.”

Greg Biffle led one lap and continued on despite damage in a wreck halfway through the race to bring his No. 16 RFR Ford home to an eighth-place finish. After an electrical fire in the dashboard the week before at Sonoma Raceway, Clint Bowyer led one lap and brought his No. 15 HScott Motorsports Chevrolet home to a ninth-place finish. Michael McDowell rounded out the top-10 in his No. 95 Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet.

Casey Mears led two laps and  finished 12th. David Ragan, who led one lap, finished 16th. Denny Hamlin led seven laps and finished in 17th place. Carl Edwards led eight laps, finishing 25th while Martin Truex Jr., who led one lap, finished 29th. Regan Smith led one lap and finished 38th as Kevin Harvick, who led one lap, finished 39th.

Twenty-three cars finished the race on the lead lap and 31 were running at the finish. Nine cars failed to finish the race because of an accident.

The race lasted two hours, 40 minutes and 38 seconds at an average speed of 150.342 mph. There were 26 lead changes among 13 different drivers and five cautions for 28 laps.

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