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Stewart Wins at Daytona With Last Lap Pass

Tony Stewart leads Jeff Burton and Matt Kenseth toward the finish line as half the field wrecks behind them on the final lap of the Coke Zero 400 (Getty Images)

Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle dominated the race, but Tony Stewart took the lead on the final lap to win Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, his third victory this season and his 18th career win at Daytona. But this has to go down as one of his most satisfying after he qualified second, was sent to the back because of a minor equipment problem and started 42nd, but won anyway.

Kenseth won the Daytona 500 in February and was looking to become the first driver in 30 years to win both Daytona races in the same year. He was in good shape on the final restart with two laps left and teammate Biffle right behind him giving him a push, but just after Stewart made his pass on the outside, Biffle lost control and half the field behind him wrecked.  Fifteen cars in all were involved in that crash in the front stretch taking out some of the contenders.

Jeff Burton finished second, and, after leading 89 laps, Kenseth came in third. Biffle led for 35 laps and came in 21st.

Kenseth holds on to his points lead. He’s up 25 points on Dale Earhardt, Jr., who came in 15th. Biffle moves up to third in the standings.

Before the race, AJ Almendinger was suspended for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy. He failed a random drug test the week before at Kentucky, and that suspension was handed down just 90 minutes before the race. Sam Hornish, Jr. was flown in from Charlotte to replace him and arrived 25 minutes before the start of the race. He finished 33rd.

Next up on the schedule is New Hampshire.

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