Published: Mon, July 03, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Ricky Stenhouse takes checkered flag at Daytona for 2nd win of 2017

Ricky Stenhouse takes checkered flag at Daytona for 2nd win of 2017

Stenhouse avoided trouble, hung around the front of the pack, and emerged the victor during a final overtime sprint.

Clint Bowyer was the runner-up to make a sweep of the top-two spots for Fords. Paul Menard finished third, while McDowell held on to finish fourth, a career best. Even with a few drivers upset over his tactics, the payoff for a top-five finish in Daytona is well worth the animosity in the garage.

After a 8-minute, 41-second delay, the race restarted before another caution with two to go. However, his night ended early due to multiple incidents.

Larson had risen to challenge for victory in the late laps but crashed out after contact with Stenhouse; Larson's Ganassi machine was briefly airborne and in total eight cars were involved.

Earnhardt hasn't been able to put together many great runs this season, only collecting one top five and four top-10 finishes this season. Pole sitter Dale Earnhardt Jr.(88) could not provide the storybook ending to his Daytona career that his fans wished for.

However, the new auto was good enough as he was to get the lead with only two laps left in the race and hold the lead until the checkered flag waved.

With the high number of cautions that littered the race, pit strategies varied throughout the race.

Rain postponed the race from Friday night until Saturday, and then a second weather delay of almost two hours made for a lengthy 250 miles. He fell out of the race after spinning and hitting the wall on lap 116. Matt Kenseth (No. 20 DEWALT Flexvolt Toyota) won Stage 2, edging Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota).

A blown tyre on lap 105 caused Kevin Harvick to spin out and take several other drivers with him.

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Other drivers collected in the wreck included points leaders Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr.

In the overtime period Stenhouse took the lead from David Ragan, who sunk to sixth before the end. Earnhardt was back up front late in the stage, battling Keselowski for the lead.

Commentators speculated that Paul Menard might have made contact with Earnhardt before Earnhardt's vehicle hit the wall, but it's hard to tell from the television footage.

This time, the damage was too much for Earnhardt's Hendrick Motorsports team to fix and he was forced to drive his auto slowly into the garage and out of contention for a much-needed victory. Leading four laps on Saturday was the first laps that he has led this season. The yellow waved again on lap 16 for D.J. Kennington's blown engine. The caution lasted from laps 72 to 76.

It was not a good night for sentimental favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. Brad Keselowski won last year's Coke Zero 400. Whether it's the Daytona 500 at the start of the season.

Many aspects of this race are emotional for Earnhardt and JR Nation as he's on his farewell tour, planning to retire from full-time racing at the end of the 2017 season. Regular crew chief Adam Stevens continues his four-race suspension for a wheel coming off the vehicle during the race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

The first Big One involved 10 cars. The Xfinity Series race, scheduled for Friday night, was delayed until Saturday for rain.

The race featured several crashes and many tyre failures throughout the field.

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