Matt Kenseth Wins Sprint Unlimited At Daytona
By Space Coast Daily // February 16, 2015
Kenseth captures 75-lap race saturday night
ABOVE VIDEO: Two-time Daytona 500 champion is back in Gatorade Victory Lane. After a winless 2014 season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Kenseth captured the 75-lap non-points Sprint Unlimited on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway.
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – Two-time Daytona 500 champion is back in Gatorade Victory Lane.
The Sprint Unlimited rolled off with 25 drivers, a high-profile mix of 2014 pole winners, former Sprint Unlimited winners and Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full time in 2014, Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers from 2014, plus several others who qualified based on final 2014 series championship standings.
Quite different from the event’s 1979 debut, which featured nine drivers – 1978 pole winners only – racing for 20 laps.
“It was a great start for the week (leading up to the Feb. 22 Daytona 500),” Kenseth said.
“Hopefully we can keep up the momentum for the rest of the week.”
That one lasted 15 minutes and was won by Buddy Baker who, earlier that afternoon, had captured the pole for the Daytona 500.
After a Lap 23 crash, however, 18 cars remained in contention in this 37th running of the event.
The 14-car accident started when Greg Biffle’s Ford hit former Daytona 500 champion Jamie McMurray’s Chevrolet from behind, turning it sideways with the rear wheels briefly off the ground – directly into the path of the field.
The race was red-flagged due to the clean-up required; that lasted 14 minutes, 42 seconds. When the race was restarted on Lap 30, two-time Daytona 500 champion Dale Earnhardt Jr., seeking a third Sprint Unlimited victory, was the leader.
A late dust-up took several more cars out of the mix, setting the stage for a four-lap dash to the finish. Kenseth, in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota, outdueled the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet of Martin Truex on the final lap, with the help of some cagy blocking moves.
Kenseth’s margin of victory: 0.219 seconds. Carl Edwards, in his debut run as Kenseth’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, finished third in the No. 19 Arris Toyota.
The 75-lap/187.5-mile race was divided into 25- and 50-lap segments. The first segment ended under caution after 2012 series champion Brad Keselowski crashed in the tri-oval, ruining his night.