Tony Stewart wins crash-fest at Daytona

Sunday 8th July, 2012 - 3:41pm


Tony Stewart celebrates his 18th win at Daytona. That includes zero wins in the season-starting Dayton 500 ...

Tony Stewart celebrates his 18th win at Daytona. That statistic includes zero wins in the season-starting Dayton 500 …

Tony Stewart has taken victory in an action-packed Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

Stewart side-drafted and separated Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle, who had surged into the lead during a two-lap run to the finish, then pulled away for his fourth win in the last eight July races at the 2.5-mile super speedway.

Behind Stewart, a massive wreck in Turn 4 on the final skewed the finishing order.

Jeff Burton came home second ahead of series leader Kenseth, who led a race-high 89 laps.

Joey Logano and Ryan Newman completing the top five.

Australian Marcos Ambrose ran with the top bunch but was involved in a major pile-up with eight laps remaining finish. Ambrose was eventually classified in 30th.

Emerging unhurt from the wreck, Ambrose was left to rue what could have been.

“It’s one of those deals at Daytona, just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Ambrose said.

“We had a very quick DEWALT Ford Fusion here tonight, even though for most of the race we were conserving the car.

“It’s a shame, our restrictor plate program has been really strong this year, the Richard Petty Motorsports cars are fast, but we don’t have the results to show for it.

“We’ll bounce back from this at Loudon.”

The first caution didn’t come until Lap 81 — one lap past halfway — when Sam Hornish Jr., driving the No. 22 Dodge in place of suspended AJ Allmendinger, blew a tire and wrecked on the backstretch.

Hornish was a last-minute substitute for Allmendinger, whose failed drug test from last weekend at Kentucky was announced Saturday afternoon, along with his suspension from NASCAR competition.

Five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson saw his race end on Lap 124 in a seven-car wreck.

Kenseth’s lead in the standings grew to 25 points over Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was collected in the last-lap crash and finished 15th. Biffle is third, 44 points behind Kenseth.

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