Joey Chestnut eats a record 70 hot dogs to take back his title

WP

Joey Chestnut returned to hot dog-eating glory, beating his rival Matt Stonie at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island on what turned out to be Kevin Durant Day.

Chestnut downed an event-record 70 hot dogs and buns, beating Stonie by a healthy 17-dog margin at the 100th running of the Fourth of July tradition.

A year ago, Stonie ended Chestnut’s eight-year run as champion, edging him 62 to 60.

"Last year was rough, but as I was leaving everybody was like, ‘Oh, it’s going to make next year better.’ And everybody was right.

A distraught Stonie gave credit to his foe after the competition.

Joey Chestnut and Matt Stonie, at Friday’s weigh-in. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

"No excuses," Stonie said. "Joey came out, brought his A game, so I can’t take that away from him."

Chestnut beat his previous record at the event, set in 2013, by one. In the past two years, his output had dropped to 61 in 2014 and last year’s 60 that cost him the title.

"(Stonie) made me go back to the drawing board and figure out my body again, and I did it."

With his honor restored, will Chestnut ride off into the sunset as a nine-time champion, or will he return for a shot at a 10th Mustard Belt?

"I’m gonna be back," Chestnut said.

The contest usually has the July 4 spotlight mostly to itself, but NBA superstar Kevin Durant announced earlier Monday that he was moving from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Golden State Warriors in free agency.

Happy Fourth of July, America.