Daytona gives wild night finale as Harvick wins it
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The cracked, patched and deteriorating track held up better than most of the cars and some of the competitors.
A wild night race at Daytona International Speedway — the last one on the track’s 32-year-old surface — ended with Kevin Harvick taking the checkered flag, teammate Clint Bowyer spinning through the infield grass and several angry drivers searching for answers.
This might be remembered as one of the more chaotic events at NASCAR’s most famous track.
“Every time I looked up, there was a crash going on,” second-place finisher Kasey Kahne said late Saturday.
It sure seemed that way, especially over the final 45 laps.
Despite a record 18 leaders and 47 lead changes, the real excitement resulted from six multi-car crashes in the second half of the race that essentially wiped out more than half the field. The biggest of them all, a 20-car melee that included four-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson, came with 12 laps to go and halted action for 20 minutes.
There was more commotion after the race. The hottest exchange was between Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch, who wrecked at the finish line. They had to be separated.
“He just turned his car right and slammed into us,’’ Busch said. “Old trick for him.’’
“He’s just frustrated because he had a bad day,’’ Edwards countered.
Harvick, the season points leader, grabbed his second victory of the season and his first at Daytona since capturing the 2007 Daytona 500.
Kasey Kahne posted his third top-five finish in the last four races. Jeff Gordon was third, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton.