In what was possibly his last-ever Cup race at Daytona - Earnhardt said it was 50-50 whether he could return in a substitute or one-off role - Earnhardt said his phone was filled with texts amid the publicity of a potential final run at a track where he has 17 wins across various series.
Clint Bowyer was second, followed by Paul Menard, Michael McDowell, Ryan Newman and Ragan. It took just seven more races for Stenhouse to earn his second. The Mississippi native picked up his first career win on the circuit earlier this year when he won the GEICO 500 at famed Talladega Superspeedway. He leads Martin Truex Jr.by 18 points with Kyle Busch in third, 108 markers out of the lead.
"We lost a couple of laps, got them back, worked our way up to the top 10, being aggressive and trying to get ourselves in position at the end", he said.
Stenhouse's last win came in May at the Geico 500.
"It was tough out there", Stenhouse told NBC Sports.
Larson and Truex were involved in the crash, along with Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray, Danica Patrick and Menard as the race went into its fifth caution period. He stayed on the lead lap and restarted the second stage in second. The owner of the winning Xfinity Series auto was scheduled to start from the pole in Saturday night's main event.
Ricky Stenhouse survived the wild summer race at Daytona to pick up his second win of the year, both coming at restrictor-plate races. He delivered an emotional message after being unable to finish the race.
Kenseth was the leader at lap 80, the halfway mark, and the end of stage two of the 160-lap race. We were working up in there and having a good time and being aggressive and wearing out the sides of that race vehicle. Dale Jr. received the free pass back onto the lead lap following the incident, so it's not over yet.
On Lap 106, Kevin Harvick - riding right in front of Earnhardt's No. 88 Chevrolet - appeared to cut a tire, immediately fell off the pace and ignited a multi-car wreck, which collected Earnhardt and several others.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series continues its 2017 season next Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway. Kahne, Suarez, Keselowski, Matt DiBenedetto, also were involved.
NOTES: Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fastest in final practice Thursday and in the first round of qualifying before winning the pole Friday. Can we get this guy a auto that works in both directions so he can get to Victory Lane? "We were just drafting back up through there and I think [Harvick] had a flat and just really had nowhere to go".