The little team that could took the checkers Friday night in Daytona. Kurt Busch and his Phoenix Racing team won a wild race that featured 42 lead changes and a bunch of torn up cars. Kurt’s Phoenix Racing team only plans on running four Nationwide Races this season due to a lack of funding but Busch showed small-team power when he pulled into victory lane tonight. The Nationwide Series always puts on a great show and Friday Night was no exception. Kurt Busch battled back through a lot of adversary all race long.
The first lead change came on lap one when Cole Whitt took the lead from pole-sitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The first caution of the night came out on lap eight when Brian Scott suffered fuel pressure issues and slowed on the track. He would eventually return to the track on lap 26 after going behind the wall for repairs. Danica Patrick took the lead for the first time of the night on lap 18. She had many different drafting partners all night but she managed to stay up front almost the whole race.
The next caution of the night came out on lap 40 when Mike Wallace, who was running sixth, got tapped from behind and spun in turn two. Danica took two tires and won the race off pit road and gained the lead. Kyle Busch had a tire roll out of his pit box and that sent him to the back of the pack on the restart. Shortly after the restart, Joe Nemechek was pushed to the lead. A 100 lap race goes by quick and we were already at halfway. Joey Logano was the leader followed by Elliot Sadler, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Mike Wallace. The “big one” brought out the caution with 36 laps to go when Mike Wallace got loose in turn two and got down into James Buescher. Buescher then spun up the track and cars started to pile in. A total of 16 cars were involved. They included Mike Wallace, Kurt Busch, Elliot Sadler, Danny Efland, Brian Scott, Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski, Casey Roderick, James Buescher, Kevin Harvick, Michael Annett, Kyle Busch, Johanna Long, Joe Nemechek, Cole Whitt and John Wes Townley.
Mike Wallace commented after that racing at Daytona is “fun racing but hard racing.” Brad Keselowski said that “it looked like somebody switched lanes in front of me (Brad) and checked everybody up.”After the mess in turn two was cleaned up the race continued. The leaders pitted and Allgaier was the leader for the restart. Many drivers that were involved in the wreck went behind the wall but some continued like Kurt Busch, Elliot Sadler, Kyle Busch and Johanna Long.
With 24 laps to go we had another caution. Ricky Stenhouse Jr got into the back of Brad Sweet in the No.38 and sent Sweet spinning in the short shoot before the tri-oval. Sweet made drivers side contact with the inside wall and took the car behind the wall. Just after the restart in turn two, the No.36 of Bobby Santos spun but no caution came out. With 18 to go we had our fifth caution of the night. Stenhouse Jr turned Jeffery Earnhardt into the outside wall. When drivers were checking up, somebody got into the back of Danica and spun her into the inside wall. She made hard contact and her car was destroyed. After the big wreck earlier in the race, she was a favorite to compete for the win but now she won’t have a chance.
Later she said “thought we were going to win tonight.” Her facial expression showed her disappointment. With four laps to go, the caution came out for debris and this set up a green white checker finish. Austin Dillon was the leader taking the green for the restart. We didn’t need a second attempt at the green white checker finish. Coming out of turn four for the final time, Stenhouse Jr was pushing Kurt Busch and Annett and Dillon were coming. Stenhouse couldn’t make a move on Kurt Busch and Busch took the checkers.
Behind them, Annett turned Dillon and another wreck broke out. Dillon crossed the line fourth but he was sliding across the track and Kyle Busch hit him hard. Then Dillon slid back up the track and Robert Richardson Jr made hard contact with him and the contact lifted Dillon’s car into the air a little. Other drivers involved in the last lap wreck were Johanna Long and Josh Richards. After all the wrecks of the race, all drivers were ok.
Kurt Busch and his Phoenix Racing team were ecstatic. Most of them have never been to victory lane before and this was a cool experience for them. Kurt Busch said in victory lane how “it’s amazing to do what we do as a little team.” Kurt also said in Daytona races you need to “go hard or go home.” This was the qualifying event for the Nationwide ‘Dash 4 Cash’ and the four drivers that qualified are; Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Michael Annett, Austin Dillon and Elliot Sadler. An absolute wild night ended in triumph for the little team out of South Carolina. This race had all the exciting aspects from big wrecks to close racing. This was likely the best race of the Nationwide season. Daytona proved to be a spectacular event once again.
Next week, the Nationwide Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Tomorrow the Sprint Cup Series stars compete in the Coke Zero 400 live from Daytona.
Update- Joey Logano (#18) fails post race inspection. Since he is not running for Nationwide Championship, six owner points likley taken from team.
Results via Nascar.com
|2||–||6||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||NOS Energy Drink||42/0||101||Running|
|3||–||43||Michael Annett||Ford||Pilot Flying J||41/0||101||Running|
|4||–||3||Austin Dillon *||Chevrolet||Bass Pro Shops / NRA Museum||41/1||101||Running|
|5||–||18||Joey Logano||Toyota||Sport Clips||0||101||Running|
|6||–||2||Elliott Sadler||Chevrolet||OneMain Financial||39/1||101||Running|
|10||–||12||Sam Hornish Jr.||Dodge||Wurth||35/1||101||Running|
|11||–||51||Jeremy Clements||Chevrolet||Curry’s Roofing / USS James E. Williams DDG 95||34/1||101||Running|
|12||–||70||Johanna Long *||Chevrolet||WishForOurHeroes.org||32/0||101||Running|
|14||–||81||Jason Bowles *||Toyota||American Majority||31/1||101||Running|
|15||–||19||Tayler Malsam||Toyota||G-Oil / Noah’s Light Foundation||29/0||101||Running|
|17||–||23||Robert Richardson Jr.||Chevrolet||North Texas Pipe||27/0||101||Running|
|18||–||14||Eric McClure||Toyota||Hefty / Reynolds Wrap||26/0||101||Running|
|20||–||108||Bryan Silas||Ford||Randy Hill Racing||0||101||Running|
|21||–||40||Erik Darnell||Chevrolet||Curtis Key Plumbing||23/0||99||Running|
|22||–||87||Joe Nemechek||Toyota||AM-FM Energy / D.A.B. / T.S.A.||23/1||97||Running|
|23||–||54||Kyle Busch||Toyota||Monster Energy||0||94||Running|
|24||–||38||Brad Sweet *||Chevrolet||Great Clips||20/0||93||Running|
|25||–||199||John Wes Townley||Toyota||Barberitos||0||89||Running|
|26||–||20||Clint Bowyer||Toyota||Dollar General||0||86||Running|
|27||–||124||Casey Roderick *||Toyota||West Virginia Miners||17/0||84||Running|
|28||–||33||Kevin Harvick||Chevrolet||Rheem / Menards||0||84||Running|
|29||–||88||Cole Whitt *||Chevrolet||Degree Men / Winn-Dixie||16/1||83||Running|
|30||–||15||Jeffrey Earnhardt||Ford||TobaccoFreeFlorida.com / Nuts Off||14/0||82||Running|
|31||–||7||Danica Patrick||Chevrolet||GoDaddy.com / NASCAR Unites “An American Salute”||14/1||82||Running|
|32||–||11||Brian Scott||Toyota||Dollar General||12/0||82||Running|
|33||–||136||Bobby Santos||Chevrolet||Tommy Baldwin Racing||11/0||80||In Pit|
|34||–||30||James Buescher||Chevrolet||Ron Jon Surf Shop / Quicksilver||0||71||In Pit|
|35||–||22||Brad Keselowski||Dodge||Discount Tire||0||66||In Pit|
|36||–||01||Mike Wallace||Chevrolet||G&K Services||9/1||65||Running|
|37||–||52||Joey Gase *||Chevrolet||My Three Sons Vending||7/0||50||Running|
|38||–||174||Mike Harmon||Chevrolet||Koma Unwind Relaxation Drink||6/0||31||In Pit|
|39||–||50||T.J. Bell||Chevrolet||Hantz Bank / Gulf Coast Loss Prevention||5/0||22||Out of Race|
|40||–||46||Chase Miller||Chevrolet||TheMotorsportsGroup.com||4/0||5||In Pit|
|41||–||42||Josh Wise||Chevrolet||Curtis Key Plumbing||0||4||In Pit|
|42||–||47||Stephen Leicht||Chevrolet||Curtis Key Plumbing||0||3||In Pit|
|43||–||10||Jeff Green||Toyota||TriStar Motorsports||1/0||3||In Pit|