Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ricky Stenhouse wins Coke Zero 400 after 14 cautions at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH— It took 158 races for Ricky Stenhouse to get his first NASCAR Cup Series win.

It took less than two months for him to get his second.

Stenhouse withstood a race-record 14 cautions with a second-to-last lap pass of David Ragan to win Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. It was his second victory in eight races after winning at Talladega in May and gave him back-to-back wins at restrictor-plate tracks.

"It validates what we did at Talladega…" Stenhouse said.

His driving certainly did, given the wreck-filled chaos that knocked out some of the series' top drivers.

In what is expected to be his final race at the famed 2 1/2 –mile tri-oval, Dale Earnhardt Jr. hit the wall twice. The first scrape sent him two laps down, but he climbed all the way up to seventh (thanks to two free passes). But Kevin Harvick got loose in front of him on lap 106, dashing Earnhardt's hopes of an 18th win at Daytona and denting his hopes of making the playoffs in his final season as a full-time Cup driver.

"As soon as we got our lap back, I knew anything was possible…" Earnhardt said. "Just really had nowhere to go."

Rising star Chase Elliott and former Daytona 500 champions Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne and Kurt Busch were among the other drivers caught up in wrecks on a warm evening that left cars with little grip.

"Tonight we just survived," runnerup Clint Bowyer said.

Six different drivers led in the final 26 laps: Stenhouse, Ragan, Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suarez, Kasey Kahne and Ty Dillon.

But the back-and-forth passing stalled when Stenhouse hit points leader Kyle Larson with seven laps left. Larson briefly went airborne, narrowly missing Bowyer and bringing out a red flag.

"I just squeezed Ricky and wrecked myself," Larson said.

The wrecks weren't done. After a restart with three to go, Erik Jones got loose in an incident that also collected Denny Hamlin and set up overtime.

On the first and only overtime restart, Ragan looked like the favorite to win the event for the second time in his career. But Ragan couldn't hold off Stenhouse, whose No. 17 Ford powered by him on the inside.

"I zigged when I should have zagged," said Ragan, who finished sixth.

And Stenhouse capitalized to become the fifth driver in the series with multiple wins this season.

Firecracker 250: William Byron won the Xfinity Series' Firecracker 250 Saturday, beating teammate Elliott Sadler in a controversial overtime finish. Scott Lagasse nudged Garrett Smithley into the wall farther back in the pack with two laps left. Smithley slid across the backstretch as part of the five-car crash that brought out a caution flag...eventually.

Replays showed that the crash clearly happened before the overtime line, but the yellow didn't appear until after Byron crossed the line to win his second Xfinity race in a row. If officials had called for caution a moment sooner, the drivers would have attempted another restart.

Sadler said he wasn't disappointed that he didn't get an extra chance to battle for the win.

"I'm not going to nickel and dime them to death on when they threw it and why they threw it," Sadler said. "I say safety first, because my butt's in the seat."

Contact Matt Baker at Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

Ricky Stenhouse wins Coke Zero 400 after 14 cautions at Daytona 07/01/17 [Last modified: Sunday, July 2, 2017 12:52am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jordan Spieth wins British Open (w/ video)


    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Matt Kuchar plays out of the bunker on the 18th hole and finishes with bogey for 1-under 69. He had a one-shot lead after 13 holes.
  2. Fennelly: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was lovely.

    Brad Boxberger suffers his second loss in the three-game series, this time by allowing back-to-back homers in the eighth inning when called on to protect a 5-3 lead. “Just bad pitches,” he says.
  3. Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

    Lightning Strikes

    WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.

  4. Rays journal: Rays gamble on Sergio Romo's track record, heart

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Some of RHP Sergio Romo's numbers this season with the Dodgers were the worst of his career, yet the Rays feel he can be a good fit for their bullpen.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26:  Sergio Romo #54 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch in the 9th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on June 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
  5. Rays claim not to be panicking after third straight brutal loss to Rangers (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — There was no "here we go again" moment in the dugout as Rougned Odor's two-run homer in the eighth inning arced across Tropicana Field and toward the rightfield seats, even though when it landed, the score was tied and another late-inning Rays lead was blown.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria heads back to the dugout after fouling out in the ninth inning with the potential tying run on first.