After a green-white-checker restart to finish Friday night’s Subway Jalapeno 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Kurt Busch hooked up with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and drove to the front, with Busch claiming the race win and Stenhouse runner-up honors.
“We just won at Daytona,” Busch said in victory lane. “I had to do this for (car owner) James Finch. It’s amazing to do what we do with a small team.”
Busch drives a Finch entry in the Sprint Cup Series, but when it comes to Nationwide racing, he’s normally behind the wheel of the No. 54 Toyota of Kyle Busch Motorsports. In Daytona, though, car owner Kyle Busch climbed into the No. 54, and Kurt Busch wheeled the No. 1.
The Busch brothers worked together throughout the first half of the 100-lap race, but both were caught up in the “big one” that involved some 16 cars with 35 laps to go. Kurt Busch pitted six times for repairs to his damaged car during the caution that followed, but he managed to stay on the lead lap. Meanwhile, Kyle Busch went several laps down after spending a significant amount of time in the garage.
When Kyle Busch returned to the track, seven laps down, he again hooked up with his brother, with the hopes of pushing Kurt Busch to the win, but the two got separated on a later restart when Kyle Busch was moved to the back to restart with other laps-down cars.
After working with multiple drivers in the closing laps of the race, Kurt Busch and Stenhouse hooked up during the green-white-checker attempt to end the race when Busch got caught in the middle on the restart and began to fade back. At the same time, Stenhouse was moving towards the front. The two drivers hooked up, with Stenhouse pushing Busch to the win.
“I saw an opening, so I went there,” Stenhouse said. “I was moving up, and he was coming back, so we hooked up.”
After the “big one” with 35 laps to go, the yellow flag waved three additional times, once with 24 laps remaing, again with 18 to go, and with three laps to go. The incident with 18 remaining involved Jeffrey Earnhardt and Danica Patrick, who had run at or near the front for most of the race to that point.
Michael Annett finished third, Dillon slid across the start/finish line sideways to finish fourth, and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five.
Stenhouse, Annett, Dillon and Elliott Sadler qualified to compete for the $100,000 Nationwide Dash 4 Cash bonus in next weekend’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway by being the four highest-finishing series championship-eligible drivers.
Sadler finished the race sixth.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
– Follow me on Twitter @NASCARexaminer.