Brad Keselowski led a race-high 115 laps on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway, including the final seventeen, to claim his twentieth career victory and third this season. The final caution period forced the race one lap past its scheduled distance. On the restart, Keselowski darted away from the field and beat runner-up Kyle Busch to the checkered flag by fifteen one-hundredths of a second. Trevor Bayne finished third with Joey Logano fourth and Ricky Stenhouse Junior fifth. Fords claimed four of the five top finishing positions with Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota the only “outsider” among them. Pole sitter Greg Biffle led just one lap and finished eighth in the forty-car field.
Keselowski started fifth in his Number-2 Team Penske Ford, took his first lead nine laps into the race and ran steadily in the top five throughout the night. His three wins tie Busch for the series lead as drivers start thinking about seeding for the post-season Chase that begins in two-and-a-half months … Saturday’s race included five cautions, most notably for a massive crash that gobbled up half the field early in the second half of the race.
The twenty-two-car melee was triggered when Jamie McMurray brushed teammate Kyle Larson and then went up the track across the nose of Jimmie Johnson’s Chevrolet. Dale Earnhardt Junior and Kevin Harvick were among those victimized. Earnhardt was able to complete the race and finished twenty-first. Harvick could not and he placed thirty-ninth, watching his regular-season points lead shrink to fourteen over Keselowski – who advanced from fourth to second in the standings with nine races remaining before the Chase opens.