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Nationwide: Buescher survives to take maiden win

That pushed the race into a restart on lap 119, which meant green-white-chequered conditions. Fortunately this time the field made it round a full revolution of the 2.5-mile tri-oval and the white flag came out, meaning that no matter what this would be the final lap of the day: whatever flag came out next would freeze the field and decide the result.

Kurt and Kyle Busch were still in front, but being the leader into the final lap at Daytona is akin to having the world's biggest bullseye painted on your backside. The others were coming up fast that the Busch brothers were sitting ducks, no matter how fiercely they tried to block the oncoming storm.

Joey Logano and Trevor Bayne had teamed up and made a run on the outside line that looked all-but-assured to slingshot them into the lead; Tony Stewart and Elliott Sadler were charging from further back on the lower line. Kurt Busch saw all this and tried to move up the track to head off Logano and Bayne, but in doing so he pinched them against the wall - and disaster ensued once more. Contact was made and cars cannoned into one another, with Kyle Busch getting a particularly sharp knock that sent the #54 snapping into a crunching hit against the wall. Fortunately he wasn't hurt, and nor was anyone else who had been caught up in the accident.

“It looked like the leader came up and tried to block and he blocked too late and it pinched the #20 car into the wall," described Sadler from his front row seat.

From further back, Buescher saw the same thing: “Whoever was at the front of the pack started to go up to block the outside line."

“I went to crowd the outside lane and didn't know that there were two cars up there,” explained Kurt Busch. “I thought it was just a single lane ... Man, a lot of tore-up cars."

Cars went everywhere, but a few cars managed to slip through more by luck than by judgement. And then the penny dropped that this was it, the end of the race: the field had been frozen when the caution came out. But when was that, exactly?

It turned out that the yellow had been slightly tardy in coming out. If it had come out sooner then those involved in the accident would still have been well-placed, but the race had run on just long enough to allow the chasing cars to thread their way past the pile-up and get to clear space beyond. And the most fortunate of them all was young James Buescher, who has been outside the top ten going into that final corner but who now was shown as the race winner. He could scarcely believe it.

"It's incredible: this is top of the list for any race car driver to win at - and we did it!" he said, celebrating in victory lane for the first time in his Nationwide career shortly after the wild finish. "They all piled up in front of me, and we made it through!"

Buescher had thought his hopes for a good result were over after he lost his drafting partners, Justin Allgaier and Joe Nemechek, in the earlier incidents.




Related Pictures

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James Buescher celebrates winning the DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway, his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series win. [Picture Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR]
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The Richard Childress Racing #3 Chevrolet Nationwide Series car driven by Ty Dillon. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)
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