A year ago, Regan Smith got turned around while racing Brad Keselowski to the checkered flag in the Nationwide Series race at Daytona. The incident caused a massive crash that sent Kyle Larson’s car flying into the catchfence injuring more than 30 fans. This year, he got his time.
Regan Smith made a last turn pass on Brad Keselowski to win the DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona. He beat Keselowski to the line by 0.013 seconds to claim the race that he came so close to last year.
“After last year with what happened at the start/finish line, I felt terrible,” Smith said. “It was a situation where you can’t change it and you’re thankful everybody was able to come back from the injuries and be OK. I wanted to see the checkered flag in a proper manner at Daytona and not causing a wreck there.”
Trevor Bayne finished the race third after giving Smith a shove to the front on the last lap followed by Kyle Busch and Elliott Sadler. Rookie Ty Dillon was 7th while fan favorites Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick finished 11th and 19th respectively.
Rookie Dylan Kwasniewski sat on pole and led the race before Earnhardt Jr. took over the lead. He led 28 laps before having to pit and was force to fight back from a lap down. James Buscher was in contention at the front until he was hit with the weekend’s only pushing penalty.
Busch dominated the middle of the race before Smith took the lead on Lap 77. Smith led until Keselowski drafted by him on the outside with 10 laps remaining. Keselowski had the lead until a caution on Lap 116 set up a green-white-checkered finish.
Smith and Keselowski raced side by side during the last two laps to before Smith was able to pull ahead at the line.
After the race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran into a slowing Kyle Larson and triggered a 10 car wreck. The wreck included veteran Joe Nemechek who had his car completely destroyed. Earnhardt said in Victory Lane that he felt really bad about the wreck and offered to buy Nemechek a new race car.
“It’s good to come out of the box strong like this,” he said. “This is Daytona, it’s tough to win here. I thought we had one last year and it didn’t quite happen.”
The Nationwide Series now heads to Phoenix next week with Regan Smith on a hot start to the year.
“This one means a lot.”
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