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Nationwide: Kurt Busch pushed to Daytona win

Danica Patrick and Kevin Harvick teamed up for the restart, but that fell apart pretty quickly and Patrick had to rely on Cole Whitt to keep her in the lead pack while Joey Logano and Elliott Sadler briefly went in front. Harvick paired up instead with the recovering Mike Wallace, and the two had just gone to the front and were attempting to switch positions between themselves when a trademark Daytona "big one" broke out on lap 65: Wallace moved down, contacted James Buescher, rebounded back up the track into Brad Keselowski and set off a 15-car wreck that also caught up Sadler, Whitt, both Busches, Clint Bowyer and Michael Annett among others.

Keselowski and Wallace were done for the night and Buescher was also out of the running, but others like Sadler and Annett escaped with mainly cosmetic damage. Kurt Busch came out of it badly crumpled but still fast after six visits to pit lane for repairs under the ensuing caution, while Kyle's car was also running but somewhat more impaired.

Danica Patrick had escaped the wreck by just having pushed Justin Allgaier to the lead before it all happened, and the duo duly led at the restart on lap 72 but quickly lost touch and plummeted backwards; instead it was Austin Dillon and Kurt Busch going to the front just before the next caution of the evening on lap 76, when Brad Sweet spun after contact with Stenhouse Jr. Patrick's day was over for good at the next restart when Jeffrey Earnhardt got spun - by more contact from Stenhouse Jr. - and collected several cars in a mini-restaging of the big one, including Patrick herself heading into a big hit with the SAFER barrier

Elliott Sadler and Joey Logano competed with Sam Hornish Jr. and Kurt Busch for the lead at the next restart with only a dozen laps to go till the end. Busch found better form by switching back to support Austin Dillon and Hornish hopped over to Justin Allgaier and the quartet were running incredibly close when the dash to the chequered flag was postponed by a final caution for debris on lap 96, forcing the race into a green-white-chequered finish and extending the race distance by an extra 2.5 mile lap.

It was Logano who emerged with the lead at the restart, with Busch seemingly shuffled out of contention and into the lonely middle lane. But Stenhouse Jr. - who hadn't had the best of showings with drafting partners all things considered - saw an opportunity to make something happen.

"We didn't have many people to work with, and I saw him hung out there in the centre, and I got a good restart and jumped to the middle and caught up with the #1," he explained. "He was fast all night, and I just pushed him to the win."

With the extra help, Busch managed to force his way up to the high line and go for the finish line. Stenhouse Jr. thought about going for the win himself, but realised that it just wasn't on when he saw Austin Dillon charging up behind them with Michael Annett.

"I was hoping I could make a move there, but I saw the #3 and everybody coming, so I kind of tried to duck out and block them, and we ended up second," he said. "It was exciting, and I hope the fans enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun."

It had certainly been a vintage Daytona race, with plenty of fast pack racing and drafting, a couple of big wrecks to keep the fans happy, and a winner overcoming the odds and adversity to make it to victory lane. Kurt Busch couldn't have been prouder of the car he'd dismissed as the 'the great pumpkin' during the week.

Full race results, qualifying and practice times and current nationwide Series championship standings also available




Related Pictures

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Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 1 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Jalapeno 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on Friday in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Mike Wallace, driver of the #01 G&K Services Chevrolet, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Dodge, spin out in front of Kurt Busch, driver of the #1 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, and James Buescher, driver of the #30 Ron Jon Surf Shop/Quicksilver Chevrolet, after an incident in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Jalapeno 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on Friday in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS who finished in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to a fifth place finish Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Elliott takes over the #24 car from retired driver Jeff Gordon.  (Photo by Ashley R Dickerson for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 as Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage (L) and John Godwin of Duck Commander (R) look on at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, leads Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Chevrolet SS, finishes in fourth place, Sunday April 3, 2016, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, VA (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet, gets into his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 18, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #2 Rheem Chevrolet, and Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bulwark/PAR Electric Chevrolet, talk during practice for the NASCAR Xfinity Series TreatMyClot.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway on March 18, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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