Clint Bowyer's first victory of the season gave Richard Childress Racing a much-needed boost.
Bowyer won the Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway on Friday night, holding off Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards in a green-white-checkered finish.
"These guys never give up, the guys at RCR and the ladies," Childress said. "They just dig and dig. We've been a little bit off, and when you get a little bit off, everybody wants to kind of kick you. We just take that lick and come on back."
Bowyer, the defending series champion, was the leader when a multicar accident brought out the caution with six laps to go in the Subway Jalapeno 250. That set up a final two-lap overtime sprint, and Bowyer lined up inside of Edwards for the double-file restart.
With Busch pushing him from behind, Bowyer raced to the front. He didn't have to deal with a challenge from Busch because an accident in the fourth turn brought out a race-ending caution, giving RCR its first win of the year.
Busch finished second, followed by Edwards, Joey Logano and Kasey Kahne.
Bowyer's win might not do much to soothe Childress' problems in the Sprint Cup series, where Bowyer (15th), Jeff Burton (16th), Casey Mears (20th) and Kevin Harvick (27th) are all out of championship contention. Then again, a trip to Victory Lane could raise morale across the board.
"At RCR, things haven't been the best this year and you need something," Bowyer said. "You're always looking for that little thing, and hopefully this victory will give everyone a pep in their step and some excitement."
This one wasn't a fluke. Bowyer had the car to beat much of the night. He started on the pole and spent much of the night running up front. He moved to the front for good with about 30 laps to go, often driving away from his competitors down the backstretch.
"That was the best we had," Busch said. "Clint's car was better than ours tonight. We have some work to do before coming back here.
Brad Keselowski finished sixth, followed by Brian Vickers, Justin Allgaier, David Ragan and Harvick.
Kerry Earnhardt and Chase Austin had a rough night. They were involved in the first accident on lap nine, then got together again to bring out the fifth caution. Austin lost control of his car and collected Earnhardt and Robert Richardson Jr.
Earnhardt slammed into the outside wall, veered across the track and then tagged the inside retaining wall. Earnhardt and Austin both were treated for heat-related injuries.
Kertus Davis also ended his night in the care center. He spun coming out of a turn and started a five-car accident on lap 95. His car caught fire as he drove through the grass, but escaped just after it came to a stop. He was treated and released.
Davis' wreck set up the frantic finish, and Bowyer did the rest.
He wanted to make a pit stop and get new tires, but his crew chief made the call to keep him on the track. It paid off, too, as he stayed out front and ended up celebrating his first Nationwide victory since winning at Bristol in March 2008.
"It's been tough this year," said Bowyer, who won for the first time in six starts in the second-tier series. "It's been tough on Richard, tough on everybody. Just real proud of everybody at RCR."