Kyle Busch led the final five laps of the Gatorade Duel qualifying race to score his first win of 2009 in dramatic fashion, holding off the challenge of Mark Martin on the run to the line at Daytona.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver held off Martin after a frantic final lap that saw the #18 M&M's Toyota end the race as the only car not to go through a position change on the final tour of the famed speedway and it means he will start Sunday's Daytona 500 from fourth on the grid.
Busch hadn't hit the front until the closing laps but needed the help of spotter Jeff Dickerson to secure the win as he helped his driver to go high and defend from Martin through turn four after the Hendrick man had been given a push by Brian Vickers.
“He won the race,” Busch said of his extra pair of eyes. “It was awesome with Jeff, having him on the radio – always is. It was a great race. I just want to give a special thanks to the fans for coming out today, and thanks to M&M's and all the people who make it possible for us to come out here and have some fun.
“I saw Mark coming. He had a fast racecar too, and probably had the car to beat and win this race, but we made the right moves. Mark going to the high side in three and four and Jeff Dickerson spotting me just drove me right up there and kind of blocked him a little bit and then drove me down and blocked Brian Vickers there.
“It's the Gatorade Duels. If it was the Daytona 500, we probably would've been nosed up in the fence or something. I'm glad we got away with that now. It was a great race for us.”