Nationwide - Kurt Busch Race Report
Daytona, Feb. 26, 2012: Kurt Busch was leading Saturday’s DRIVE4COPD 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway with the checkered flag in his sights before a multi-car crash dashed his hopes for victory.
Busch had his No. 1 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Impala out front off turn four on the final lap of the season-opening Nationwide Series race. Just a few hundred yards separated him from his fourth career Nationwide Series win and his first at Daytona. But the gaggle of cars running three-wide as their drivers vied for the lead touched off a chain-reaction crash that collected Busch and left him a disappointing 10th when the smoke cleared.
“We were up front, leading laps and doing exactly what James Finch (team owner) would’ve wanted,” said Busch, who was one of 11 drivers caught up in the last-lap crash. “We took the white (flag) leading and had the lead halfway down the backstretch. Everybody was side drafting and we (Kurt and Kyle Busch) got separated. I went to crowd the outside lane and didn’t know that there were two cars up there. I thought it was just a single line. I was trying to side draft to get the best finish I could at the end. Everybody was racing to the end, but there are a lot of torn up cars. That’s everybody being full throttle there at the end.”
Busch started the race in 14th place and wasted no time positioning himself at the front of the field. He climbed to second on lap eight and moved into the lead on lap 28, two laps before the first caution flag waved for debris. After a quick pit stop for four tires and fuel, Busch returned to the track in the lead, which was a familiar spot for the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion as he wound up leading seven times for a race-high 42 laps.
Prior to the last-lap crash, the 120-lap race unfolded with little incident for Busch and the HendrickCars.com team. The only problem they battled was a slightly tight-handling racecar.