Ricky Stenhouse takes checkered flag at Daytona for 2nd win of 2017

Dale Earnhardt Jr. driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet greets a throng of adoring fans as he is introduced before the NASCAR Cup Seriesl Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway

Dale Earnhardt Jr. driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet greets a throng of adoring fans as he is introduced before the NASCAR Cup Seriesl Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway

It took just seven more races for Stenhouse to earn his second. Ragan, who's been NASCAR's "super sub" filling in for so many drivers and is universally regarded as one of the sport's nicest guys, was thisclose to a win on Sunday night. This is awesome. I've been coming here since 2008. The win is his second Cup victory, and his first at Daytona Internationals Speedway, so Stenhouse was glad he already had a party planned.

"This validates what we did at Talladega", Stenhouse said.

"We have been working hard at Roush Fenway and this pushes us further along".

Clint Bowyer rallied to finish second, followed by Paul Menard, Michael McDowell, Ryan Newman, Ragan, Brendan Gaughan, A.J. Alleminder and Chris Buescher.

"Wow, what a night".

"He's got [restrictor-plate racing] figured out; he used to be sort of chaotic", Bowyer said of Stenhouse. "I want to first off thank all the troops that have fallen for our country, for our freedom". When we won here in '01, that was for all our fans, all his fans.

"There wasn't much I could do", Earnhardt said.

"I had a 4th of July party planned". We're going to have some fun.

Ragan scored a top-10 finish at Talladega earlier this year, the other plate track.

Kyle Larson continues to hold on to the points lead after the halfway point of the season.

Pole-sitter Dale Earnhardt Jr. is strong early in the Coke Zero 400 then encounters problems at Daytona International Speedway
Ricky Stenhouse takes checkered flag at Daytona for 2nd win of 2017

Many aspects of this race are emotional for Earnhardt and JR Nation as he's on his farewell tour, planning to retire from full-time racing at the end of the 2017 season. From there, he kept his No. 17 Ford out front all the way to the checkered flag.

Earnhardt started on the pole, but his time out front only lasted until the field got to the first turn on the first lap when Chase Elliott got the better jump.

A second top 10 on the season isn't bad either.

In 22 career starts at Daytona, Ragan has the victory in 2011, as well as three top-five finishes and five top 10s.

Larson had risen to challenge for victory in the late laps but crashed out after contact with Stenhouse; Larson's Ganassi machine was briefly airborne and in total eight cars were involved. The race is the last scheduled one for Dale Earnhardt Jr.at the famed track.

Junior ended up two laps down then, but two subsequent cautions allowed him to get back on the lead lap with 70 to go.

Quotable: "I give us an "A" for the night".

"I just squeezed Ricky and wrecked myself", Larson said. "I zigged when I should have zagged".

Nonetheless, he was still on the leader's lap at the end and was credited with 14.

Brad Keselowski, who led 32 laps in dominating the first 40-lap stage of the race, was also among those who retired early.

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