By a Hair! Tony Stewart Edges Clint Bowyer For Dramatic Nationwide Series Win at Daytona
It might as well have been a drag race.
Oakley’s Clint Bowyer, who charged through most of the contest at the front of the pack, was edged by a miniscule .007 seconds by fellow Oakley Star Tony Steward, who grabbed his 10th victory in 91 Nationwide series starts on Saturday. The win, also his 16th total victory at Daytona, came after a dramatic side-by-side mad dash to the finish line.
But Tony’s path to the front was no walk in the park. He overcame a cut tire, which forced him to restart 11th – the last driver on the lead lap – when the race went green in Lap 115. Stewart’s fortune increased as Landon Cassill, who pushed him to the front.
“We restarted 11th, and it really wasn’t a huge drama,” Tony said. “They reminded me that we went from 14th to third in two laps [earlier in the race], so we knew we had a good enough car to do it. It was just a matter of what the scenario was going to be.”
Clint was visibly frustrated at the close result.
“[Earnhardt Junior] shoved me all the way to the last lap,” Bowyer said. “Coming off [Turn] 4, we had a good run, and I tried to block the No. 4’s [Stewart] momentum, and about that time Junior ducked under me, so I had to block him, and all hell broke loose.”
Nonetheless, his appreciation for the day’s intense action never waivered.
“That’s the thing about this place. No matter what the race is, the ending’s always great.”
Just as any race at Daytona, the result came partially as a result of circumstance.
Raging into turn one on the final lap, Kyle Busch, who was paired with Joey Logano on the outside, pushed Logano too far forward, sending him into the wall. But a caution never materialized, and that allowed Stewart and Cassill to catch up to Bowyer and Earnhardt.
And the rest is history.
A big congrats to Tony and Clint for an amazing Nationwide Race!
The stage is now set for what will surely be an amazing Sprint Cup race on Sunday.