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Head2Head: Which Daytona victory was more surprising?

February 27, 2012, ,

Daytona is known for providing its share of surprise winners -- Trevor Bayne's win last year proves that. But no one could have predicted the surprises in store this past weekend at the 2.5-mile track.

On Friday night, John King, making just his eighth Truck Series start, somehow found his way out front and in Victory Lane. And then Saturday afternoon, with a who's who of drivers leading coming to the checkered flag, James Buescher went from 11th to first to steal the Nationwide victory.

It was a momentous weekend to be sure, as both drivers scored their first career victory, but whose victory was more surprising? Mark Aumann chose the kid who shares a name with a famous CNN newsman while Bill Kimm is still scratching his head over last year's third-place Truck driver's unbelievable luck. Read their arguments and weigh in with yours in the comments below.

Whose win was more surprising: King or Buescher?


OK, a show of hands: How many of you had heard of John King before Friday night? If your hand is raised, you're either lying, confusing him with CNN's John King, went to school with him in Kingsport, Tenn., or are related.

Talk about a surprise victory to end all surprises. He's not even listed anywhere on the Red Horse Racing website, and he drove one of their Toyotas to Victory Lane. I'm not even sure he even believes it. In his post-race interview, King said this was his third career win. Not in the Truck Series. Not in NASCAR. Ever. As in all of the races he's ever run in his 24-year-old life, and one of those wins was in a dirt late model stock car.

Yes, he had Joe Gibbs horsepower under the hood. Yes, that truck had won at Daytona two years ago with Timothy Peters driving. Yes, he had veteran Terry Cook spotting for him. But King -- with seven previous Truck starts -- was the guy who brought it home. King went through rookie orientation because he hadn't ever turned a wheel on a superspeedway before last week. And now he's won there.

You want to know the best thing? He's got an entire five weeks before he has to give the glass slipper back, since the Trucks don't run again until the last week of March.

In the fairy tale, Cinderella married the handsome prince. In NASCAR's version, the King from Kingsport was king of the mountain -- at least for one enchanted evening.

Mark Aumann, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

Eleventh. That's where James Buescher was running coming to the checkered flag in Saturday's Drive4COPD 300 at Daytona.


It needs to be said twice, because as I continue to watch the highlights, I'm still flabbergasted at how Buescher, a Nationwide part-timer for Turner Motorsports, wound up going from 11th to first in a few hundred feet.

Buescher didn't have a winning car. In fact, he was involved in an earlier wreck that damaged his No. 30 Chevrolet, although not bad enough to end his day. Buescher wasn't looking for the win, he was just looking to bring home as good a finish as he could considering the circumstances.

Then chaos ensued out of Turn 4.

And somehow, someway, Buescher was able to drive through the carnage, avoiding any sort of contact, and steal the victory.

Don't get me wrong, John King's victory at Daytona was a magical moment. But he was out front for the final six laps and in a race that featured more up-and-comers to proven veterans, it wasn't too much of a surprise to see a new face in Victory Lane.

Buescher, however, was not supposed to win this race. And the way he did was even more spectacular considering the drivers ahead of him -- Stewart, Logano, Busch. No question this was a bigger surprise.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

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