Kurt Busch said before the season started that he just wanted to "put the fun back in racing." After being released by his Penske Racing team, Busch signed with under-funded team, Phoenix Racing with car owner James Finch. While things haven't gone so well for Busch and his 51 team on the Sprint Cup side, Busch finally put the fun back in racing with a win tonight at Daytona in the Nationwide Series Subway Jalapeno 250.
Busch was involved in the big one late on lap 65, but made it through with only minimal damage. His team patched up the damage and kept him on the lead lap. Busch pushed whomever he could to get back to the front and stay there. On the final restart he got shuffled out of the top four but fell back to defending series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. With his help, Busch was able to make his way back to the lead and survive a late challenge from Austin Dillon and Michael Annett.
While Busch crossed the line, Dillon was spun out trying to pass Stenhouse and the result was a violent crash with a total of about eight cars involved. Dillon took two hard hits, one from Kyle Busch on the drivers side, and then another on the right side of the car from Robert Richardson Jr. that caused Dillon's car to get airborne. Johanna Long and more were involved.
Danica Patrick looked like she had a car that could win, especially after she escaped the first big wreck that took out drivers like Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer and more, but she crashed a few laps later. Stenhouse spun out Jeffrey Earnhardt on the backstretch ahead of her and she moved left to try to avoid the spinning car of Earnhardt. In doing so she spun herself across the nose of the 14 car of Eric McClure. Patrick slammed the inside wall hard. She hit so hard that the steering column shifted upwards and almost hit her facemask. Patrick was checked and released from the infield care center, but she said she still had some pain on her left arm from the steering wheel.
Austin Dillon qualified on the pole, but started at the rear of the field because his car failed post-qualifying inspection for being too low. And penalties will be announced on Tuesday... Tonight's race set a new track record for lead changes with 42.
The Nationwide Series heads to the Granite State for the F.W. Webb 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It will be the first race in the Nationwide "Dash 4 Cash" promotion. The four drivers eligible for the $100,000 bonus are Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Michael Annett, Austin Dillon, and Elliott Sadler. The top four finishing NNS regulars from the week before the race are eligible. Those drivers will have blue spoilers next week.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Sam Hornish Jr.
Top 5 in Points:
Austin Dillon -2
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -18
Sam Hornish Jr. -35
Justin Allgaier -72