DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — With a last-corner, last gasp effort reminiscent of the winning run Denny Hamlin had in the 2016 Daytona 500, Trevor Roppolo found a way to edge out David Washington for the win in Monday night’s season-opener for the =RSR= Full Throttle Cup Series presented by Garry Mercer Trucking.
Leading only the last 100 yards or so, Roppolo used a side-draft against his Aegis Motorsports teammate coming into the tri-oval to take the win by 0.017 of a second, the closest finish in Daytona 250 history.
Roppolo becomes the 51st driver to win a series race in a finish that saw the Aegis team sweep the top four finishing positions at the checkered flag.
“We were just trying to make clean pit stops and control the field, there,” Roppolo said in victory lane. “When that outside line started making a run, Dylan (Jones) and Joseph (Theis) moved up there to try and divide our efforts … and control that lane like Dave and I were working the bottom.”
“We definitely didn’t want to see the yellow, though. I was content pushing Dave to the win, but once the caution came out it was every man for himself and Joseph gave me a heck of a push there right at the last second. I don’t know how we pulled it off, but I’m glad it worked out for me. I can’t even put it into words … just really, really thankful.”
In a race that didn’t see the first caution fly until seven laps to go, Washington’s quest for his eighth-career series victory came up one spot and one bumper short.
“Just finishing one of these, I’m happy,” Washington admitted. “To be up front … it was even better. It was a fun race. This is probably one of my worst tracks, so I’m just thankful we finally didn’t have any problems.”
“I just mirror-watched the last part of the race. I knew there wasn’t a lot they could do from behind us as a team. Trevor just got me at the last second, but it’s a great win for him … he definitely deserves it.”
Joseph Theis was the pusher that shoved Roppolo to the victory, coming home third in the final rundown ahead of another teammate, Dylan Jones.
“I just had a really good run through turns three and four,” he explained. “I just drilled into Trevor as hard as I could, trying to get to the line first … and we did.”
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