Another upset, another wreckfest
Buescher wins Nationwide race
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – James Buescher, 21, survived the Drive4COPD 300, in part because 45 cars wrecked in the final 17 laps.
Oh, wait. The race only had 43 cars in the field. But 20 cars wrecked on the 104th lap, 14 on the 114th and 11 on the final lap, the one where Buescher’s No. 30 Chevy somehow managed to snake its way through.
“It’s hard to put into words,” Buescher said upon reaching the Daytona International Speedway media center.
Truer words have seldom been spoken.
“It’s hard to describe the feeling you get when you realize you made it through the wreck,” the Plano, Texas native added.
Ditto. When the crash began, he was running 11th.
At least eight cars were involved in two of the final three crashes. The decisive one – the one Buescher missed – apparently began as a result of Kurt Busch’s ill-considered block of Joey Logano. Logano’s Toyota then clipped the hard-charging Chevy of Tony Stewart, thus costing Stewart a shot at winning the season-opening Nationwide Series race for the fifth consecutive year.
Buescher’s first career victory – by the way, he was involved in the first of the three crashes near the end – occurred one night after a similarly improbable – and crash-marred -- victory in the Camping World Truck Series by 23-year-old John King.
Entering the third turn of the final lap, Kurt and Kyle Busch led in one bump draft, while Logano was leading Trevor Bayne in another. Stewart and Elliott Sadler were the fastest moving as the field entered turn four. The Busch brothers became separated, and Kurt Busch’s Chevy apparently tried to block Logano’s Toyota.
Brad Keselowski, who finished second, said, “The most dangerous aspect left in the sport is the yellow flags that pile up at the end of races.
“What most worries me on the final lap is being stopped in the middle of the track and getting ‘whaled’ by a car going 180 (mph).”
By the end, the driver who figured to be the center of attention was long gone. Danica Patrick started the race on the pole but struggled after leading the first two laps and crashed on the 49th lap after contact with the Chevy of her teammate, Cole Whitt.
Sadler, who finished third, said, “You just have to accepAt the reality that this is a dangerous sport.”
“We walk the line in this sport between being daredevils and chess players,” Keselowski. “Tracks like this one tend more to the daredevil side. … Not a lot of people watch chess matches on TV.”
Monte Dutton; 704-869-1841; twitter.com/montedutton