Busch survives spins, rallies for Shootout win

Posted by imelda sovzky on Sunday, February 19, 2012

Busch survives spins, rallies for Shootout win
By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service
Feb. 18, 2012
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla .—- Kyle Busch rallied from two near-disasters to win Saturday's Budweiser Shootout with a slingshot move past Tony Stewart a few yards from the finish line at Daytona International Speedway.
Starting from the back of the field in a backup car -- necessitated by a wreck in Friday's practice -- Busch won the season-opening exhibition race for the first time. His winning margin over Stewart was .013 seconds, the closest in Shootout history, in a green-white-checkered-flag finish that took the race seven laps beyond its scheduled distance.
Marcos Ambrose recovered from a pair of wrecks to finish third, followed by Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin. Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards and Juan Pablo Montoya completed the top 10.

Busch's victory was the first in a NASCAR racecar using electronic fuel injection, which was introduced to the Sprint Cup Series this season.
Stewart had just taken the lead on Lap 74 of a scheduled 75 when a violent wreck in Turn 4 sent Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet barrel-rolling through Turn 4 and sliding on its roof toward the entrance to pit road.
Gordon was following Kyle Busch on the backstretch, and contact between the cars turned Busch's Toyota onto the apron. Busch made a dramatic save for the second time in the race, but Gordon slid up the track into the Chevrolets of Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray.
As all three cars contacted the outside wall, Jimmie Johnson's Chevrolet nosed beneath the right rear bumper of Gordon's car and turned it upside down. The wreck left 11 cars on the lead lap and sent the race to overtime.
"With Gordon behind me, I don't know what the deal was there -- I'd like to talk to him about it," Busch said. "When we came off (Turn) 2, he had me sideways, and then all the way down the backstretch, I was still sideways -- left, right, left, right, everywhere -- then we were off into 3 and he turned me sideways again. He was on the left side of my bumper instead of the right."
The first of the close calls for Busch, on Lap 48, strung the field out, leaving a 10-car pack fighting for the lead. Busch's Toyota twice turned sideways off the bumper of Johnson, and twice Busch saved the car from calamity despite running onto the apron in Turn 2.
"Stab and steer, stab and steer," Busch said of the technique that bailed him out of trouble. "That's what you do. And some brakes. There are brakes involved, too. I thought I was clear... and I tried going down slowly, and Jimmie just must have been there a little bit, turned me sideways and got me on the apron -- scared everybody half to death, including me."
The complexion of the race changed dramatically on Lap 55, when a chain-reaction wreck that started with contact between the cars of polesitter Martin Truex Jr., Ambrose and Joey Logano clobbered those three vehicles and eliminated Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth.
The resulting fourth caution of the race bunched the field for a restart on Lap 62, with Greg Biffle in the lead, followed by Hendrick Motorsports teammates Gordon and Johnson and reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Stewart.
Rule changes NASCAR instituted during the offseason changed the character of racing at Daytona. Though Busch and Stewart hooked up for the final two-lap dash, drivers spent the vast majority of the race drafting in packs. To Stewart, it was a significant improvement.
"I had fun racing at Daytona again, which I haven't had for a while," Stewart said. "This is better than having to sit there and stare at the back of a spoiler for 500 miles."
The race was barely eight laps old when contact from David Ragan's Ford turned Paul Menard's Chevrolet and ignited a multicar wreck that also damaged the cars of Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Montoya, Michael Waltrip, Jeff Burton and Gordon.
Earnhardt, who had led the first three laps, had just regained the top spot on Lap 8 and was out in front when the wreck erupted behind him. The crash sidelined Menard, Ragan and Waltrip and knocked Hamlin and Kahne off the lead lap. Burton also fell of the lead lap during the first 25-lap segment when he pitted under green with a cut tire.
"Everybody was real racy and I just got into the back of Menard," Ragan said after exiting his car. "You get a good run, and you're pushing a little bit, and I guess he was pushing whoever was in front of him. And when you've got the meat in between the sandwich, you usually get wrecked."
McMurray was at the front of the field when NASCAR called the competition caution after Lap 25. Gordon, undeterred by minor damage to his car, was second, followed by Harvick, Kyle Busch and Ambrose.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race - Budweiser Shootout At Daytona
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida
Saturday, February 18, 2012

               1. (2) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 82, $198550.
               2. (15) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 82, $94800.
               3. (21) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 82, $54800.
               4. (3) Brad Keselowski, Dodge, 82, $45800.
               5. (16) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 82, $44800.
               6. (7) Greg Biffle, Ford, 82, $43400.
               7. (13) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 82, $42050.
               8. (17) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 82, $40025.
               9. (11) Carl Edwards, Ford, 82, $38025.
               10. (25) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 82, $36525.
               11. (12) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 81, $36025.
               12. (9) AJ Allmendinger, Dodge, 80, $35525.
               13. (19) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 79, $35025.
               14. (18) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, Accident, 74, $33525.
               15. (14) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, Accident, 73, $33025.
               16. (4) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, Accident, 73, $32525.
               17. (6) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, Accident, 73, $30025.
               18. (10) Joey Logano, Toyota, Accident, 54, $28025.
               19. (1) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Accident, 54, $25025.
               20. (8) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, Accident, 54, $23025.
               21. (23) Matt Kenseth, Ford, Accident, 54, $21025.
               22. (22) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, Accident, 54, $20025.
               23. (24) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, Accident, 8, $18030.
               24. (5) David Ragan, Ford, Accident, 8, $16030.
               25. (20) Michael Waltrip, Toyota, Accident, 8, $15032.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  124.096 mph.
Time of Race:  1 Hrs, 39 Mins, 07 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.013 Seconds.
Caution Flags:  5 for 22 laps.
Lead Changes:  26 among 13 drivers.
Lap Leaders:   M. Truex Jr. 0; D. Earnhardt Jr. 1-3; J. McMurray 4; J. Logano 5; K. Harvick 6; D. Earnhardt Jr. 7-15; K. Harvick 16; J. McMurray 17; M. Truex Jr. 18-22; J. McMurray 23-25; J. Gordon 26-27; G. Biffle 28-33; A. Allmendinger 34; G. Biffle 35-36; J. Montoya 37; J. McMurray 38-42; M. Truex Jr. 43-44; J. Johnson 45; K. Harvick 46-47; J. Gordon 48-51; J. McMurray 52; G. Biffle 53-61; J. Gordon 62-71; Kyle Busch 72-73; T. Stewart 74-80; M. Ambrose 81; Kyle Busch 82;.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  G. Biffle 3 times for 17 laps; J. Gordon 3 times for 16 laps; D. Earnhardt Jr. 2 times for 12 laps; J. McMurray 5 times for 11 laps; T. Stewart 1 time for 7 laps; M. Truex Jr. 2 times for 7 laps; K. Harvick 3 times for 4 laps; Kyle Busch 2 times for 3 laps; J. Logano 1 time for 1 lap; A. Allmendinger 1 time for 1 lap; J. Montoya 1 time for 1 lap; J. Johnson 1 time for 1 lap; M. Ambrose 1 time for 1 lap.

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