Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent
Kurt Busch wasn't in the familiar No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota NASCAR Nationwide Series entry for Friday night's Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Instead he drove the No. 1 Chevrolet of Phoenix Racing, the team he just happens to race for in the Sprint Cup Series, to victory lane.
"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."
It's amazing to do what we do with a small team.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. used his No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford to push Busch to the checkered flag, taking a runner-up finish for himself. Michael Annett finished third in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, gaining a spot when the No. 3 Richard Childress Chevrolet of Austin Dillon spun on the final lap. The No. 3 finished fourth, crossing the start/finish line sideways.
Dillon looked to be the race pole sitter, posting the fastest time in qualifying earlier in the day, but his time was disallowed because of an air hose issue discovered by NASCAR officials after qualifying.
As a result, Dillon started the race from the 42nd spot. As he worked his way toward the front, the lead changed hands several times with drivers including Busch and his brother, Kyle Busch in the No. 54, JR Motorsports teammates Cole Whitt in the No. 88 Chevrolet and Danica Patrick in the No. 7, and Sam Hornish Jr. in the No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge, among others, spending time up front.
After a couple of single-car incidents to bring out the first cautions of the race on lap eight and lap 40, the "big one" came with 35 laps to go, with 16 cars being collected in a large multi-car wreck. Several of the previous front-runners, including Patrick, Whitt, Annett, James Buescher in the No. 30 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet and both Busch brothers were involved.
The incident seemed to start with the No. 01 J-D Motorsports Chevrolet of Mike Wallace, when Wallace ducked down while pushing Harvick to get some air through his grill to cool his car.
"I guess I screwed up," Wallace said. "Looks like I came down just a little bit and the 30 was there."
Eventual race winner, Busch, made pitted six times during the resulting cautions for repairs to his No. 1.
Soon after the incident, Dillon made his way to the front, taking the lead for the first time with 25 laps to go. The lead changed hands several more times, and the yellow flag waved twice more, once for an incident involving Patrick and the No. 15 Rick Ware Racing Ford of Jeffrey Earnhardt with 18 laps to go.
"The car was really fast," Patrick said. "I feel bad for (crew chief) Tony (Eury) Jr. Thought we were going to win tonight. What can you do? There was an accident in front of me."
The yellow flag waved for the final time with three laps to go, bringing with it a green-white-checker attempt to end the race under green.
Dillon restarted in the lead. Kurt Busch was shuffled to the middle on the final restart and lost several positions. But he was able to hook up with Stenhouse and the two drove to the front.
"I saw an opening, so I went there," Stenhouse said. "I was moving up and he (Busch) was coming back, so we hooked up."
Meanwhile, several other drivers, including Kyle Busch, Dillon and a few others wrecked as the checkered flag waved.
Joey Logano rounded out the top-five in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
Stenhouse, Annett, Dillon and sixth-place finisher Elliott Sadler in the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet were the four highest-finishing series championship-eligible drivers. So they'll be the four drivers racing for a $100,000 bonus in Nationwide's Dash 4 Cash program when the series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway next weekend.