Clint Bowyer claimed his first NASCAR Nationwide Series win of the season in the Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona International Speedway.
Bowyer started from pole and crossed the finish line first, but a lot happened in between during the 102 laps of racing. The current series champion led for nearly half the distance, taking turns at the front of the field with some of his Sprint Cup colleagues, who set the tone for most of the night.
With six laps remaining the caution came out due to a multi-car incident at turn one. Bowyer was leading the pack ahead of Edwards, who was on fresher tyres, while Kyle Busch followed them at the time, setting up an interesting final sprint following the final restart of the race with two laps remaining.
When the green flag waved Bowyer got pushed by Busch to the front, while Edwards tried to keep up on the outside with Brad Keselowski glued to his rear bumper. However, Bowyer's lane gained more momentum and as they started the final lap, the caution came out for another incident on the front stretch, which virtually sealed victory for him.
"I can't begin to tell you what this place means to me," Bowyer said after winning his first race at Daytona. "The wolves were coming after we decided to stay out on that caution and not take tyres. I got nervous when I saw Harvick and [Kenseth] and [Carl Edwards] coming on new tyres.
"But Kyle gave me a good push there right at the end. Luckily the caution came out and who knows what would've happened on that last lap but our car was pretty fast tonight."
Bowyer's win is only the first for Richard Childress Racing this year as the team has endured a tough season, especially in the Sprint Cup Series, where none of the squad's four drivers are currently ranked among the top 12 in the standings.
Busch was trying to set up a last lap move with team-mate Joey Logano, but his attempt was cut short by the final caution of the day. He led 14 laps during the race and admitted he did not have the car to beat, suggesting he was down on power to Bowyer's Chevrolet.
"We're proud of that second-place effort. That's the best we had," Busch said. "Clint's car was better than ours tonight. We've got some work to do before we come back here but a lot of that work is going to be under the hood.
"Mark [Cronquist engine builder] has got some homework to do when we come back here but the car is going to be different anyway. We've got Nationwide CoT's here next time."
Carl Edwards did not lead any laps while his team-mates did, but he was Roush Fenway's winning card in the end. The former Nationwide Series champion had taken on a new set of tyres during a late caution due to suspected cut tyre, and had the race run until the final lap under green, he might have been more of a threat to Bowyer.
"That was close," said Edwards. "I didn't know whether to take tyres or not. I mean, these Goodyear tyres that they brought here are perfect. They give up, they put a little strategy into the race and our car was really good there at the end.
"I was cheating a little bit because I had those tyres but when I was following Clint, I know he's a dirt racer and I know he can hang on for a long time but he was getting looser and looser.
"I just hated to see that restart that I had to go to the outside. Keselowski pushed me and didn't spin me out. That was awesome. In the end it was a great points' day."
Joey Logano and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top five ahead of Keselowski, Vickers and Penske rookie Justin Allgaier.
Dale Earnhardt Jr took part in the race but he was involved in an incident on lap 58, which brought his night to an early end.
Kyle Busch continues to lead the championship with 172 points over Edwards, while Keselowski ranks third.
Pos Driver Make Laps 1. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 102 2. Kyle Busch Toyota 102 3. Carl Edwards Ford 102 4. Joey Logano Toyota 102 5. Kasey Kahne Toyota 102 6. Brad Keselowski Chevrolet 102 7. Brian Vickers Toyota 102 8. Justin Allgaier Dodge 102 9. David Ragan Ford 102 10. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 102 11. Michael Waltrip Toyota 102 12. Steve Wallace Chevrolet 102 13. Michael McDowell Toyota 102 14. Matt Kenseth Ford 102 15. Matt Carter Ford 102 16. Kenny Wallace Chevrolet 102 17. Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet 102 18. Scott Lagasse Jr Toyota 102 19. Jason Leffler Toyota 102 20. Bobby Gerhart Chevrolet 102 21. Scott Wimmer Chevrolet 102 22. Jason Keller Ford 102 23. Tony Raines Chevrolet 102 24. Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 102 25. John Borneman III Ford 101 26. Robert Richardson Jr Chevrolet 101 27. David Gilliland Dodge 101 28. Eric McClure Ford 101 29. Mike Bliss Chevrolet 100 30. Danny O'Quinn Jr Chevrolet 99 31. Mike Harmon Chevrolet 97 32. Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet 95 33. Kertus Davis Chevrolet 94 34. Jeff Green Chevrolet 94 35. Michael Annett Toyota 84 36. John Wes Townley Ford 81 37. Chase Austin Chevrolet 76 38. Kerry Earnhardt Chevrolet 76 39. Mark Green Chevrolet 62 40. Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 58 41. Patrick Sheltra Dodge 57 42. Donnie Neuenberger Chevrolet 9 43. Johnny Chapman Chevrolet 2