Truex Jr. Qualifies 13th at Daytona

Kyle Busch Kyle Larson

"It's a first win".

It was the 22-year-old's first Cup victory, coming with all sorts of drama. Jones passed Martin Truex, Jr. on the final restart of the race.

On what would have been the last lap, with Truex apparently headed for victory, another major pile-up developed that claimed Jimmie Johnson, with Bubba Wallace and Clint Bowyer initiating the mess. He beat second-place Alex Bowman by almost a quarter of a second. At last, with two laps to go, it turned into an all-out dash between him and Truex.

Truex lapped the 2.5-mile tri-oval in 47.069 seconds at 191.209 miles per hour.

Truex finished second, followed by AJ Allmendinger, Kasey Kahne and Chris Buescher - another odd top 10 at Daytona. That spill took out Aric Almirola, among others. "It seemed like he was being really aggressive, and that's the second time we've kind of been on the wrong end of something with him. That's really frustrating and disappointing to have to race these races like that on the fence or line of when are you going to wreck".

Saunders said this week the sport needed the young guys to come along and "start to win and build their brands".

Based on race reports and replays, Cup, Xfinity and Truck teams had 160 vehicles involved in incidents at Daytona this season. This was the final restrictor-plate race prior to the playoffs, which begin in September.

"The 17 (Stenhouse Jr.) turned the 2 (Brad Keselowski) and then that was it", said Denny Hamlin of the first melee that involved almost half the field. Here are the formulated NASCAR Cup Series Driver Power Rankings and the non-formulated NASCAR Cup Series Driver Power Rankings following the 18th race of the 2018 season.

"When one auto sits sideways in front of the field at 200 miles per hour, you can't get through it", driver Joey Logano said of the mishaps. Stenhouse and his team experienced that the hard way on Saturday night, winning the first two stages but watching Erik Jones get the victory while the 17 came come 17th. "The first one, (William Byron) blocked (Brad Keselowski) and from where I was sitting, I thought we were going to get to the inside of him, so I wasn't really expecting (Keselowski) to check up that quick", Stenhouse said.

Stenhouse also caused two massive pile-ups that eliminated much of the top competition, including points leader Kyle Busch, pole-sitter Chase Elliott and two former Daytona 500 winners - Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin.

Hendrick teammate Alex Bowman joins Elliott on the front row. He was leading again on Lap 65 when Stenhouse tapped the left rear of series leader Kyle Busch's Toyota and sent the No. 18 Camry spinning into Byron's Chevrolet.

Jones, who joined Daytona 500 champion Austin Dillon as winners at the track this season who only led the final lap, certain has the talent and team to become a consistent victor.

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