A charging Kasey Kahne nipped Regan Smith to win the Nationwide Series race Friday night at Daytona International Speedway.
With the aid of Ryan Sieg who pushed him to the front, Kahne edged ahead of Smith at the start/finish line to take the Subway Firecracker 250. The 0.021-second margin of victory was the eighth-closest in series history.
"Everything I did tonight was wrong -- I looked in my mirror and would be like 'Go' and then decide not to and it'd be the right move," Kahne said. "I didn't really do a whole lot right, but at the end, I got a big push from (Sieg) and was able to get by Regan there. Just had tons of momentum there coming off turn four and had a fast car."
Driving for JR Motorsports, Kahne is the fourth driver to win for the team owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. this season, joining Smith, Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott. Daytona was Kahne's first Nationwide victory since 2007.
"It's kind of bittersweet," Smith said. "I'm disappointed for the team, I'm disappointed for my guys, and selfishly I'm disappointed. But, for JR Motorsports, I'm happy. A 1-2 finish is great. It's kind of a weird mix of emotions right now."
Sieg finished third followed by rookie Ryan Reed and Kyle Larson in fourth and fifth, respectively. Completing the top 10 were Joey Logano, Darrell Wallace Jr., Jeremy Clements, Trevor Bayne and Mike Wallace.
With some drivers stretching their fuel mileage, the final caution-filled laps were hairy on each subsequent restart. Elliott triggered a wreck when he failed to get going on a restart with three laps to go. His team believed the issue was related to a lack of gas. A nearly panicked Smith radioed to his team several times that he was out fuel, but continued without pitting.
Leading 28 laps, Elliott Sadler of Joe Gibbs Racing had one of the strongest cars for much of the night. But a loose wheel necessitated an unscheduled pit stop and late involvement in an incident dropped him to 21st in the final order. Sadler lost the championship lead to Smith and is second overall, 12 points behind.