Kenseth wins NASCAR curtain raiser

Kenseth celebrates at Daytona

Kenseth celebrates at Daytona

Matt Kenneth has scored the first bragging rights of the NASCAR season winning the non-championship Sprint Unlimited at Daytona.

The curtain raiser to the season may not have been for points, but the racing was certainly spirited with a number of crashes involving the sport’s big names. There was even the first post-race confrontation with champion Kevin Harvick exchanging words with Joey Logano.

After going winless last year, Kenseth got a big push from Kevin Harvick on a restart with four laps to go, then was able to defend his position over Martin Truex Jr. and new Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards.

Harvick had fallen back to Logano who tried to push him back forward, but got Harvick loose and he scraped the fence. After the chequered flag, Harvick side-swiped Logano as the cars returned to pit road. After exiting their vehicles, the two drivers exchanged words, before Logano was pulled away by a member of his crew just as tempers increased.

In terms of other incidents in the 75-lap race, Kyle Larson moved up the track on lap 22 and made contact with Brad Keselowski, which resulted in a crash that ended Keselowski’s night.

A huge wreck damaged 14 cars during a time when there were only 24 cars on the track. The incident with 28 laps to go happened when Greg Biffle turned Jamie McMurray at the front of the field. Also involved in the wreck was Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard, Aric Almirola, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kenseth.

Stenhouse spun in front of Austin Dillon with 13 laps to go with Danica Patrick also receiving some damage when she ran into Dillon.

The final wreck came with six laps remaining when Stewart touched Kyle Busch and then spun across in front of Biffle. Biffle made hard contact with the inside wall and then got collected by Kurt Busch.

Teams are back on track tomorrow for qualifying for next weekend’s Daytona 500. The front row will be set in qualifying while all other starting positions will be decided by twin 150-mile races later in the week.

 RESULTS: Sprint Unlimited – Daytona International Speedway

1 20 Matt Kenseth Toyota 16 75 21 Running
2 78 Martin Truex Jr Chevrolet 10 75 28 Running
3 19 Carl Edwards Toyota 14 75 1 Running
4 13 Casey Mears Chevrolet 23 75 0 Running
5 42 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 25 75 0 Running
6 22 Joey Logano Ford 3 75 0 Running
7 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 11 75 0 Running
8 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 5 75 0 Running
9 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 24 75 13 Running
10 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 15 75 0 Running
11 4 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 8 75 1 Running
12 31 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 12 75 0 Running
13 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 22 67 0 Accident
14 16 Greg Biffle Ford 7 67 1 Accident
15 41 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 13 67 0 Accident
16 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Ford 20 61 0 Accident
17 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 6 61 0 Accident
18 43 Aric Almirola Ford 19 55 0 Accident
19 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 9 45 0 Accident
20 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 18 45 0 Accident
21 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 1 45 7 Accident
22 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 17 45 0 Accident
23 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 2 45 0 Accident
24 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 21 45 1 Accident
25 2 Brad Keselowski Ford 4 22 2 Accident



VIDEO: Final laps

VIDEO: Victory Lane

VIDEO: Harvick and Logano have words after the race

VIDEO: Keselowski crashes early

VIDEO: Big wreck involves 14 cars

VIDEO: Biffle and others in multi-car crash

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