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Sprague Hands Toyota Its 1st Daytona Win

Jack Sprague expected Toyota to win at Daytona. He never imagined he would be the one leading the charge to Victory Lane.

But Sprague created two milestones with one move Friday night.

Sprague used a dramatic pass on the final lap to win his first race at Daytona International Speedway and give Toyota its first victory at NASCAR's most famous track.

"It will always be in the record book that I was the first one to drive a Toyota and win at Daytona," Sprague said. "It's huge for everybody involved. I knew Toyota would win Daytona. I just never thought Jack Sprague would. This is really cool."

Pole-sitter Sprague and fellow Toyota driver Johnny Benson teamed up to close the gap on Travis Kvapil coming off the final turn. Benson slammed into Sprague, sending him shooting to the outside while Benson dropped below the yellow line _ a move NASCAR reviewed and deemed legal _ to make it a three-truck race to the line.

Sprague edged Benson just before the finish line. Kvapil was third.

"I can't believe I won Daytona," Sprague said. "This is by far the best race I've ever won."

He knew he had Benson to thank for that. In fact, his crew did just that, going over to Benson's truck to thank him personally.

"He hit me so hard coming off (turn) four my teeth came out," Sprague said. "If it wasn't for him hitting me like he did, we would have never won this race."

Toyota made its NASCAR debut three years ago in the truck series. The foreign automaker finished second at Daytona in 2004, third in 2005 and claimed spots two through five last year.

Now, Toyota has made it to Victory Lane.

Sprague, Benson and defending series champion Todd Bodine agreed on the final caution to stay out instead of changing tires, get in line and move to the front.

Kvapil, driving a Ford, nearly spoiled the plan.

He took the lead on the restart with six laps to go and pulled several truck lengths out front. But the Toyota teammates ran him down coming out of the final turn and blew by as they approached the checkered flag.

Sprague edged Benson and Kvapil in what might end up being the closest race of Speedweeks.

"I've been here before. I've been on the other side of that deal," said Kvapil, who has three straight top-five finishes at this event. "I knew that was going to happen.

"It was me against the world it felt like."

The race had seven cautions for 34 laps, with six accidents.

Ken Schrader, Derrike Cope, Mike Wallace and Mike Bliss were knocked out of the race. Nextel Cup regular Carl Edwards had transmission trouble early but came back to help his Roush teammates late in the race.

Terry Cook and Chase Miller had the most dramatic wrecks.

Cook got hit from behind with about 40 laps to go, slammed into the wall and came to a sliding stop on the frontstretch while bursting into flames. Cook escaped without injury.

With 19 laps to go, Miller slammed into the wall and collected three trucks in the mess. His accident made for an even tougher night for Bobby Hamilton Racing, a team dedicating the season to its late owner.

Bobby Hamilton Sr. died last month after a nearly yearlong bout with head and neck cancer.

Schrader stepped into the seat and hoped to win at Daytona in Hamilton's memory, especially with Hamilton's name still painted above the window. But neither Schrader nor Miller were able to finish.