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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Matt Kenseth had a monster lead on the final lap of the Sprint Unlimited. And if you're familiar with restrictor plate racing, you know a big gap between yourself and a pack of cars is usually a bad thing.
But it wasn't for Kenseth on Saturday night. While Martin Truex Jr. was able to get to Kenseth's bumper in turns three and four on the final lap. However, he couldn't get around Kenseth as the two-time Daytona 500 champion won his first Unlimited.
The 75-lap exhibition race was once again a crashing spectacle, as more than half the 25-car field was knocked from contention because of wrecks. The first car disabled was Brad Keselowski's, as he crashed in the tri-oval on lap 21. The last cars crashed were of Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch, as the three tangled on the backstretch with less than 10 laps remaining.
Before you ask, no, there's no telling if the Unlimited's proclivity for crashes is a barometer for a wreck-filled Daytona 500. Last year's Unlimited was crash-prone too and the Daytona 500 was incredibly tense and clean after a lengthy rain delay. The race's lack of points makes it conducive for a science experiment of sorts for drivers to see what they can and can't do in race conditions and how hard they can go.
Carl Edwards finished third and Truex said his presence prevented him from getting around Kenseth.
"I was hoping I'd be catching him with a little more speed," Truex Jr. said. "I kind of got the setup that I wanted coming off two on the last lap, the problem was [Edwards] was the car behind me. And he was obviously [Kenseth's] teammate and he wasn't going to give me the push down the back that I needed to give me the momentum to get around [Kenseth]. And I just didn't have enough speed when I got to him to keep him from blocking me."
It's the second-straight win for Joe Gibbs Racing in the exhibition race. Denny Hamlin won the race in 2014.
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