If Sunday’s Daytona 500 is as much fun as Saturday’s PowerShares QQQ 300, those in attendance or watching on television will have a treat. In the end, Chase Elliott held off a charging Joey Logano to win by less than a car length at Daytona International Speedway.
The race was part of the Xfinity Series, but also featured several drivers who will compete in the 500 on Sunday. Besides Elliott and Logano, those drivers include Kasey Kahne, who finished third on Saturday and Austin Dillon, who finished fifth.
Tampa’s Aric Almirola finished 11th, while veteran Joe Nemechek of Lakeland was 19th.
Nine drivers led at least one lap in the race, including Elliott who led for 19. Logano led for 40 laps and Kahne for 30.
Following a caution, the drivers pitted for the final time, resuming with 14 laps to go with Elliott leading. Nearly everyone expected at least one more yellow flag as Daytona drivers are known for wild maneuvering in the closing laps.
Instead, everyone kept their line waiting for the final lap before making any move. Logano came from fourth on the outside, but Elliott moved up to block him on the back stretch of the final lap.
As they approached the finish line, the two cars bumped and rubbed tires, but Elliott was able to control a small bobble to take the checkered flag.
For those expecting a huge crash near the end of the race, it did not happen. Compared to Friday night’s truck race, where Christopher Bell flipped down the track, Saturday’s ending was all about racing. Bell walked away from the crash.
Elliott’s comments in Victory Lane was brief and to the point.
“I had such a good car and we just found ourselves in the right place at the right time there at the end and luckily had just enough to get by Joey,” he said
Logano’s runner up finish was his third in three races during this year’s Speedweeks. He pounded the steering wheel as the race ended.
“Dang it, I’m sick of finishing second,” he said.
Logano is the defending Daytona 500 champion and is one of the favorites to win on Sunday. With several veterans included among the favorites, now the rookie Elliott can be added among them.