Kurt Busch Wins 59th Annual Daytona 500

Daytona Beach, Fla – The Busch brothers bookended the stage victories at the Daytona International Speedway on Sunday. Kyle Busch won the first of the newly formed stages for the NASCAR season when he was shown the leader on Lap 60 of Sunday’s Daytona 500. Unfortunately for Busch, he was involved in an accident on Lap 105.

But, his older brother Kurt Busch won the stage that mattered the most- the last one. Busch, outdueled the youth movement getting by Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson in the end and holding off Ryan Blaney, completing the 11th last-lap pass in the 59-year history of the race en route to the season opening victory on Sunday.

Busch, got by Larson in Turn 2 of the 2.5-mile high banked track and never looked back en route to his first Daytona 500 victory in 17 tries.

It was also fitting that Busch drives the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet as Monster Energy Drink is the new title sponsor of NASCAR’s top tier series. In their first race as at the title sponsor, their car they sponsor as well won.

But, conspiracy theory aside, Busch is typically very good at Daytona despite having zero points paying restrictor plate race wins. He’s finished runner-up in the Daytona 500three times before, but today was his day. He was patient all afternoon which allowed him to elude damage in most of the crashes. He was partly invovled in a melee on Lap 128, but there wasn’t enough damage to end his afternoon.

The Las Vegas native, led just one lap out of the 200, the last one, as he’s now stamped his name into the 2017 NASCAR playoffs by virtue of that.

Busch, beat Ryan Blaney to the finish line by just 0.228-seconds as second place was Blaney’s best career Cup finish. He had a great day in his Wood Brothers No. 21 Ford coming from his 36th starting spot to the top five by time we reached halfway in the first stage.

He would have a car to win in the end and almost did.

A.J. Allmendinger would come home third while Aric Almirola brought his Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford home fourth to give Ford three cars in the top four.

Paul Menard rounded out the top five.

The win for Busch took Tony Stewart to victory lane for the first time ever in the Daytona 500. He was 0-for-17 as a driver, but in his first year of retirement, his driver ends up in victory lane.

The first half of the race saw just one caution flag throughout the entire race, but shortly after, carnage occurred. On Lap 105, Kyle Busch who won the first stage of the race had a tire go down in the middle of Turn 3. Unfortunately, he took out his teammate Matt Kenseth, fellow Toyota driver Erik Jones, Ty Dillon and fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Only Dillon was able to continue.

On Lap 128, the first of two big ones occurred when a 16 car pile up happened in Turn 3. Jamie McMurray was pushing Jimmie Johnson too hard entering the Turn which caused his No. 48 Chevrolet to turn around creating a melee. Kevin Harvick, Trevor Bayne, Danica Patrick, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Joey Gase, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Landon Cassill, Chris Buescher, Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, Johnson, Brendan Gaughan, Martin Truex Jr. and D.J. Kennington were all involved.

Then, on Lap 136, Trevor Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Elliott Sadler were all invovled in a dust up off of Turn 4. They didn’t heed the warning by Ryan Blaney that he was pitting well and caused a pile up.

On the Lap 142 restart, 10 more cars crashed again, some who were already involved earlier when McMurray pushed Chase Elliott too hard on the backstretch. This crash took out McMurray, Brad Keselowski, Daniel Suarez and others.

There would be a few more yellow after as by 50 laps-to-go, only five of the 40 starters were left without damage.

The series heads to the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the second race of the season next Sunday afternoon (2:30 p.m. ET/FOX/PRN).

Daytona 500 Results:

  1. 41 Ku Busch
  2. 21 Blaney
  3. 47 Allmendinger
  4. 43 Almirola
  5. 27 Menard
  6. 22 Logano
  7.  5 Kahne
  8. 15 Waltrip
  9. 32 DiBenedetto
  10.  6 Bayne
  11. 75 Gaughan
  12. 42 Larson
  13. 78 Truex Jr.
  14. 24 Elliott
  15. 95 McDowell
  16. 34 Cassill -1
  17. 11 Hamlin -1
  18. 72 Whitt -1
  19.  3 A. Dillon -1
  20.  7 Sadler -1
  21. 31 Newman -2
  22.  4 Harvick -3
  23. 23 Gase R -4
  24. 83 LaJoie R -7
  25. 38 Ragan -12
  26. 33 J. Earnhardt OUT
  27.  2 Keselowski OUT
  28.  1 McMurray OUT
  29. 19 Suarez R OUT
  30. 13 T. Dillon R OUT
  31. 17 Stenhouse Jr. OUT
  32. 14 Bowyer OUT
  33. 10 Patrick OUT
  34. 48 Johnson OUT
  35. 37 Buescher OUT
  36. 96 Kennington R OUT
  37. 88 Earnhardt Jr. OUT
  38. 18 Ky Busch OUT
  39. 77 Jones R OUT
  40. 20 Kenseth OUT

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