Highlights from the 59th running of the Daytona 500, Sunday at Daytona International Speedway:
WINNER: Kurt Busch finally broke through in NASCAR’s grandest event to imprint his name in the record books.
The driver of the No. 41 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing got his first Daytona 500 win in 17 tries, weaving his way to the lead in a wild finish that saw pole-sitter Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson run out of gas.
“The more it becomes unpredictable it becomes at Daytona, the more predictable it becomes in its unpredictability,” Busch opined in victory lane.
“The more I run this race, the more I’ve learned to throw caution to the wind and let it rip,” said Busch, the 2004 Cup Series champion who finished second in the Daytona 500 on three occasions before finally tasting victory. “The performace of this team has been incredible. My rearview mirror fell off with 30 to go, and I knew I had to drive defensively. I couldn’t even see the cars behind me, just heard my spotter in my ear, once we made that pass. It’s just unbelievable to have all this teamwork to get us in victory lane.”
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) February 26, 2017
Busch gives sponsor Monster Energy, which is his primary and the new Cup Series sponsor, plenty to celebrate in its opening race. He also made a winner of team co-owner Tony Stewart.
“I ran this damn race 18 years and couldn’t win it,” Stewart said. “Finally won it as an owner. What an awesome job those last couple laps. It’s probably the most patient race I’ve ever watched Kurt Busch run.”
Ryan Blaney finished second, AJ Allmendinger third, Aric Almirola fourth and Paul Menard fifth. Joey Logano overcame a loose wheel very early in the race to come home sixth, Kasey Kahne finished seventh, Michael Waltrip, running in his 30th and final Daytona 500, was eighth, Matt DiBenedetto ninth and Trevor Bayne 10th.
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SOURCE: USA Today – Heather Tucker