With the help of defending Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kurt Busch won a chaotic Subway Jalapeno 250 Friday night at Daytona International Speedway. This win marks Busch’s fifth victory in 23 Nationwide starts.
The race ended in a green-white-checkered finish after NASCAR threw the caution flag for debris on the track. After having a dominant car in the end of the race, Austin Dillon spun and crashed across the finish line after a push from Michael Annet in the tri-oval, just after Busch crossed the finish line.
Stenhouse came home second, followed by Michael Annett and Dillon. Joey Logano and points leader Elliott Sadler were fifth and sixth, respectively.
“What an incredible victory today,” Busch told the media after the race. “To be able to drive James Finch’s car into victory lane means a lot to me, but it means more to these guys. I’m happy to deliver in one of just a few short races that we run together in the Nationwide Series.”
The car that Busch drove to victory lane was nicknamed “The Great Pumpkin”. "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.'"
A multi-car accident on Lap 66 collected 14 cars and set the tone for the rest of the event.
As Kevin Harvick and Mike Wallace attempted to swap positions at the front of the pack, Danica Patrick pushed the No. 31 of Justin Allgaier to the front as a 15-car wreck unfolded behind them. Wallace, who took the blame for the incident, moved down the track into James Buescher, then bouncing him back up into Brad Keselowski in the outside lane resulting in a pile-up.
The big one 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 and recovered with a top-5 finish.
Danica Patrick looked to have a car with the speed and ability to drive to victory lane after leading 14 laps and running in the front of the pack all race. Despite her hard efforts, her night ended early after being spun with 18 laps to go. Jeffery Earnhardt received contact from behind spinning him into the outside wall. Patrick was attempting to avoid the accident, but was also collected. She made hard contact with the inside wall - so hard that it pushed her steering column above her head. Despite the hard hit, the former IndyCar star emerged unscathed.
1. Elliott Sadler
2. Austin Dillon (R), -2
3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., -18
4. Sam Hornish Jr., -35
5. Justin Allgaier, -72
6. Michael Annett, -95
7. Cole Whitt (R), -103
8. Mike Bliss, -164
9. Danica Patrick, -208
10. Tayler Malsam, -222
11. Brian Scott, -226
13. Jason Bowles (R), -249
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