DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kurt Busch was the last man standing after a wild night of racing Friday at Daytona Int’l Speedway to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Jalapeno 250.
Busch was one of many drivers involved in the big one with 35 laps left, but his car was not as damaged as most of the cars involved in the crash. Driving the No. 1 Chevrolet owned by James Finch, Busch fought his way back to the front with a handful of laps left.
The sixth and final caution flag of the night came on lap 96 for debris off the damaged Chevrolet of John Wes Townley, setting up a green-white-checkered restart. Restarting the race fifth, Busch got a push from Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. to take the lead on the last lap from Joey Logano.
Busch had to defend the lead coming out of turn four as Stenhouse looked for an opening and the pairing of Austin Dillon and Michael Annett came charging on the high side. Busch did his job, defending the low line from Stenhouse and holding on to win by .054 second.
“We just won at Daytona!” Busch screamed after exiting his race car in victory lane. “This is awesome. To be an underfunded team, to come out here only four times a year, it’s amazing to do what we can as a little team.
“I started calling this car The Great Pumpkin,” Busch joked. “James Finch wrapped it in orange because he wanted to see it go to victory lane.”
Stenhouse, who has been struggling recently after winning three races earlier this year, was happy to finish second.
“I thought I was going to have a shot at him (Busch) at the end but the two behind us (Annett and Dillon) were coming so fast I couldn’t jump out and lose it for both of us,” said Stenhouse. “We’ve been struggling lately, so to get a second-place finish out of this was a lot of fun.
We’ll be back. We’re going to get one here at Daytona before it’s over,” Stenhouse said.
Annett finished third, his career best in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, after making contact with Dillon as they charged to the checkered flag. Dillon spun across the line in fourth position, but several cars crashed into him after coming across the finish line.
Logano, the leader at the white flag, ended up fifth at the finish. However, the No. 18 Toyota Logano drove was too low in post-race inspection and will likely be penalized early next week.
Elliott Sadler finished sixth and was followed across the line by Justin Allgaier, Mike Bliss, Timmy Hill and Sam Hornish, Jr.
The big one, the large multi-car crash that has become associated with restrictor plate racing, came with 35 laps left. Mike Wallace changed lanes while leading the race and lost momentum in turn two at the front of the pack. Kevin Harvick made contact with Wallace, sending Wallace spinning in front of the entire field.
Wallace, Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, James Buescher, Casey Roderick, Townley, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Cole Whitt, Joe Nemechek, Danny Efland, Jason Bowles, Sadler, Johanna Long and Michael Annett were all involved in the crash in some fashion.
The race featured a event record 42 lead changes. It also featured 16 different race leaders, which tied the event record.
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