DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Erik Jones made a mad dash to the finish on another restart to snatch victory in a crash-filled Coke Sugar 400 on Saturday night, July 7, at Daytona International Speedway.
It was the 22-year-old's first Cup victory, coming with all sorts of drama.
Jones passed Martin Truex Jr. with about a lap remaining after one of several earlier wrecks denied Truex from what looked like a sure victory.
On what would have been the last lap, with Truex apparently was headed for victory, another major pile-up developed. That one claimed Jimmie Johnson, with Bubba Wallace and Clint Bowyer initiating that mess.
Jones was trailing Truex at the time of that near-finish mark.
The 160-lap race around the 2.5-mile tri-oval was an adventure for most of the night.
Shortly before that wreck on the initial would-be final lap, Kasey Kahne and Kevin Harvick were side-by-side with six laps to go when another crash caused a significant delay with cars spread around the infield. That spill took out Aric Almirola, among others.
That put the race into what NASCAR calls overtime because it couldn't end under caution.
At the juncture in the final third of the race, Truex emerged into the lead despite being outside the top 20 not too much earlier.
Only nine races remain in the regular season. This was the final restrictor-plate race prior to the playoffs, which begin in September.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who was the race's defending champion, was involved in two of the wrecks, the first involving 22 cars in some way.
"When one car sits sideways in front of the field at 200 mph, you can't get through it," driver Joey Logano said of the mishaps.
Jimmie Johnson led for a season-high 10 laps, but he was pretty much out of contention when with less than 40 laps to go he was assessed a one-lap penalty for a pit-road violation. He pitted outside the designated box.
Kyle Larson, who won the Xfinity Series race Friday night, was out in a crash with Stenhouse. Larson was coming off a second-place finish last weekend at Chicagoland.
Stenhouse Jr. won the first stage, taking the lead from pole-sitter Chase Elliott on the 14th lap.
Elliott was on the pole along the front with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman.
After rookie William Byron took the lead, a wreck on the 57th didn't impact the front group. Eight laps later, Byron and Kyle Busch were involved and the caution resulted in Byron losing his spot.
Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon wasn't a factor. He hasn't won since that season-opening victory.