News & Media


Kurt Busch survives, wins wild Daytona race

July 07, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service, NASCAR.com

Kurt Busch said owner James Finch chose day-glow orange for the unsponsored car because he wanted it to be noticed. (Autostock)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The Great Pumpkin arrived early, and Kurt Busch left Daytona International Speedway with something more than peanuts after winning Friday night's Subway Jalapeno 250 in a battered No. 1 Chevrolet that looked like a refugee from Halloween.

With a strong push from defending Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Busch took the checkered flag in a wild race that ended with Austin Dillon wrecking in the tri-oval as Busch crossed the finish line.

Daytona

Results
Pos.DriverMake
2.Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford
3.Michael Annett Ford
4.Austin DillonChevrolet
5.Joey Logano Toyota

Stenhouse came home second, followed by Michael Annett, who was pushing Dillon during a green-white-checkered finish that took the race one lap beyond its scheduled 100 laps.

Stenhouse, Annett, Dillon and Elliott Sadler were the top four Nationwide-title-eligible drivers, meaning they qualified for the first Dash 4 Cash race next week at New Hampshire. Whichever of those four finishes highest at Loudon will win $100,000 and automatically qualify for the next D4C race at Chicagoland.

As the action intensified during the final 0.25-miles, Dillon slid sideways across the stripe in fourth place, with Joey Logano and points leader Elliott Sadler taking fifth and sixth, respectively. The top-five for Logano, the series' top winner with five victories this season, took a sour turn in post-race inspection when his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was ruled too low in front. Penalties for the No. 18 team are possible early next week.

Busch picked up his second win of the season and fifth in 23 Nationwide starts in a day-glow orange car that differed from the usual bright red one he drives for owner James Finch.

"I showed up at the shop on Tuesday, and we talked about how our Kentucky week went, what we could have done better," Busch said. "I went out back in the fab [fabrication] shop, and they were wrapping on both of our cars this fluorescent orange color. And I'm like, 'What's going on?'

"It's just the energy James Finch has for Daytona. He wanted his cars orange so they could be seen up front, so that car could be recognized without a sponsor on it. And we drove an unsponsored car into Victory Lane [on Friday night]. I was just being my normal sarcastic self on the radio, and I said, 'The Great Pumpkin is here, and the Great Pumpkin isn't going to lift coming to the checkered flag.'"

Dash 4 Cash


Dash 4 Cash rewards the highest-finishing eligible driver at each of four designated races with $100,000, creating a "race within a race" that could reward the overall winner with $1 million.

Stenhouse saw an opportunity on the restart with two laps left and planted the nose of his car on Busch's rear bumper.

"That last restart, we didn't have many people to work with, and I saw him [Busch] hung out there in the center, and I got a good restart and jumped to the middle and caught up with the 1," Stenhouse said. "He was fast all night, and I just pushed him to the win.

"I was hoping I could make a move there [coming to the finish], but I saw the 3 [Dillon] and everybody coming, so I kind of tried to duck out and block them, and we ended up second. It was exciting, and I hope the fans enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun."

Danica Patrick led 14 laps and escaped one major wreck before being collected late in the race.

As Kevin Harvick and Mike Wallace tried to swap positions at the front of the field on Lap 66, Patrick pushed Justin Allgaier to the front as a 15-car wreck erupted behind her. Wallace moved down the track into James Buescher, then bounced up into Brad Keselowski in the outside lane.

The chain-reaction wreck also collected Harvick, Sadler, Kurt and Kyle Busch, Cole Whitt, Clint Bowyer and Annett, among others. Sadler's damage was minimal, and he soon regained the lead. Annett's crew repaired cosmetic damage on his car as well.

Sadler held the lead on Lap 83, when an off-center push from Stenhouse turned Jeffrey Earnhardt sideways in front of the main pack of cars. As drivers checked up in reaction to the wreck, Patrick was launched toward the inside SAFER barrier and took a vicious hit when her No. 7 Chevrolet slammed into the wall.

Notes-N-Nuggets

• Kurt Busch got his fifth win in his 23rd Nationwide start.
• It was his second win of 2012; he also won at Richmond.
• Busch is the 20th different driver to win in the 42nd race at Daytona.
• Busch got his10th top-10 finish of 2012 in his 11th start.
• His five wins came with three different teams.
• It was Busch's third Daytona win, but only his first points race victory.
• Phoenix Racing earned its13th Nationwide win and second at Daytona.
• Chevrolet got its 29th series win at Daytona and sixth of 2012.
• Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (second) got his first top-five finish in the past six races and his best finish at Daytona.
• Michael Annett (third) had his best career finish; his previous best was fourth at Kentucky.
• Austin Dillon (fourth) has nine top-five finishes this season, including top-fives in both career Daytona starts.
• Joey Logano (fifth) earned his fourth top-five finish at Daytona, all in the summer race.
• Twenty-six drivers were involved in accidents, including 16 in the Lap 66 wreck.
• The track record for lead changes (42) was set, and the one for leaders (16) was tied.
• Eighth race to end with a last-lap pass at Daytona, most of all tracks and the fourth in a row.

Busch made six pit stops under caution as his crew repaired the damage to his car -- enough to get it to Victory Lane.