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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)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Chevrolet, spins out after an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeffrey Earnhardt, driver of the #55 Fronius USA/Viva Auto Group Chevrolet, spins out during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Team XTREME Racing #44 entry - driven in the Daytona 500 by Reed Sorenson (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images via Getty Images)
Regan Smith, interim driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS finishes in sixteenth place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS finishes in fifth place, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS finishes in 33rd place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gordon, who led for 87 laps,  was involved in a multi-car incident on the last lap. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS races to a third place finish with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS who finishes in fifth place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS pulls into his pit on his way to a second place finish in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Percision Chevrolet, lead the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, race three-wide during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, takes the yellow and chequered flags to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with the The Harley J. Earl Trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, applies the winner`s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Smoke pours from the #2 Miller Lite Ford, driven by Brad Keselowski, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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