Saturday, July 7, 2012

Kurt Busch wins in "The Great Pumpkin" at Daytona

Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Redemption may just be redefined by one Kurt Busch. Notably, Busch's name has been in the headlines since last November with negative news stories but lately the only headlines Busch is making is for his racing. Winning tonight's Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona International Speedway, Kurt was again raw with emotion post-race. He was also more than a little hoarse from having yelled so much - this time in celebration with his team.

"The Great Pumpkin is here, and he's not gonna lift." Busch joked with his team in reference to the florescent orange color on his No. 1 Hendrickcars.com Chevy for James Finch's Phoenix Racing. "This is what James Finch is all about. He loves Daytona. I'm happy we were able to deliver."

Busch was asked whether the win is vindication for him, "It's not vindication, you want to deliver for James Finch. You want to deliver for these guys." Changing the subject, Busch said, "I don't care about me right now, tonight is about Phoenix Racing."
Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images
For Busch, the win was not without the "normal" restrictor plate wear and tear. In a massive 16 car pileup at Lap 67, his was one of the many cars with some sort of damage. The wreck started when Mike Wallace moved down the track into James Buescher and a chain reaction ensued. In the wreck were the cars of Wallace, Kurt Busch, Sadler, Efland, Bowyer, Keselowski, Roderick, Buescher, Harvick, Annett, Kyle Busch, Bowles, Whitt and Townley.

Upon being released from the infield care center, Wallace took full blame for the accident, saying in part, "I guess I caused a wreck. I didn't think I did." Wallace also spun on Lap 41 but was able to continue.

The race 42 lead changes among 16 different leaders, setting a Nationwide series record. The previous record from February's Daytona race was 38 lead changes and 16 different leaders.

Among those leaders, Danica Patrick was running her best race of the year, leading 5 different times for a total of 13 laps before being caught up in a five-car wreck at Lap 84. Her No. 7 GoDaddy car was crushed after hitting the wall hard, the steering column pushed far into the cockpit. Thankfully, she was uninjured and walked away from the accident.

Despite the accidents, there were many drivers who got notable finishes. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s second spot was his first top five since his win at Iowa. Michael Annett earned a third place finish, now his career-best after one-upping his finish at Kentucky . Mike Bliss recorded his first top 10 of the season, finishing in eighth and Timmy Hill got his second top 10 of the season; the first one also came at Daytona.

Jeremy Clements often gets overlooked but had an 11th place finish, and after running as high as fourth, rookie Johanna Long ended up in 12th, her best finish of the season.

Joey Logano looked as if he might take the win but wound up fifth in the battle for the checkered flag. The No. 20 SportClips Toyota failed post-race inspection after being found too low in the front.

Austin Dillon went across the finish line backwards after Annett got into the bumper of the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevy, yet still scored fifth place. As top-finishing rookie, he was in the media center post-race and spoke about his looming penalty for failing tech inspection for having an open cooling hose after qualifying. Just last week, Dillon's team also failed post-race tech inspection after their win at Kentucky.

"I'm not concerned (about the penalty). It was a mistake we made. It was a bummer because it was two in a row, and grandfather was upset with the guys," Dillon said. We will find out early next week what penalty NASCAR will levy against the team." He added that the team that worked on the car were from the Truck series where that hose isn't required to be taped up.

Elliott Sadler, who finished in sixth, keeps the championship points lead by four points over Dillon, though that spread could change as early as Monday. Stenhouse Jr. remains in third place.

Race results:
  1. Kurt Busch
  2. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  3. Michael Annett
  4. Austin Dillon
  5. Joey Logano
  6. Elliott Sadler
  7. Justin Allgaier
  8. Mike Bliss
  9. Timmy Hill
  10. Sam Hornish Jr.
  11. Jeremy Clements
  12. Johanna Long
  13. Danny Efland
  14. Jason Bowles
  15. Tayler Malsam
  16. Josh Richards
  17. Robert Richardson Jr.
  18. Eric McClure
  19. Blake Koch
  20. Bryan Silas
  21. Erik Darnell
  22. Joe Nemechek
  23. Kyle Busch
  24. Brad Sweet
  25. John Wes Townley
  26. Clint Bowyer
  27. Casey Roderick
  28. Kevin Harvick
  29. Cole Whitt
  30. Jeffrey Earnhardt
  31. Danica Patrick
  32. Brian Scott
  33. Bobby Santos
  34. James Buescher
  35. Brad Keselowski
  36. Mike Wallace
  37. Joey Gase
  38. Mike Harmon
  39. T.J. Bell
  40. Chase Miller
  41. Josh Wise
  42. Stephen Leicht
  43. Jeff Green

3 comments :

Confused! I watched the race, saw Danic's great run, he'd horrible wreck...but I don't see her on your race results list? Are my eye failing me?

Danica Patrick finished in 31st after her accident.

Racing would be a lot better without any Wallaces in it.

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