Kyle Busch was all set to make a run on teammate Matt Kenseth on the last lap of the Daytona 500 and bring home the bacon for the Joe Gibbs Racing team. But his other teammate, Denny Hamlin, beat him to it, leaving Busch with scrambled eggs and toast.
Hamlin steered to the outside and then ducked to the middle of the track to overtake Kenseth and hold off Martin Truex in a thrilling Daytona 500 photo finish. Busch followed just behind in third.
“Denny took my idea and did it sooner than I did,” Busch said a few minutes after the drivers and the sellout crowd caught their breath, and Jeff Gordon pulled hard on the waistband of Darrell Waltrip’s slacks to keep him from falling out of the broadcast booth.
It was Kyle Busch’s best Daytona 500 finish in 11 starts, topping his fourth-place drive in 2008. Big brother Kurt Busch also raced up front during the first half of the race before settling for a 10th-place finish.
Here is a look at how the Busch brothers and other local drivers fared at Daytona this weekend:
RACE: Sprint Cup Daytona 500
CAR: No. 18 M&M’s 75 Toyota
RECAP: Led 19 laps; ran in lead draft most of race. Was running third at white flag when race winner and teammate Denny Hamlin pulled out of draft on final lap to overtake race leader Matt Kenseth.
BUSCH SEZ: “Denny took my idea and did it sooner than I did. For me to jump up there, I don’t think I would have been able to protect my spot; he had too much momentum. So, I was kind of stuck with what I had. But it was a great day for our M&M’s Camry, a great day for Joe Gibbs Racing. It was really cool to see Joe Gibbs get an opportunity to go back to Victory Lane here in the Daytona 500. Been a long time. It was a day of Toyota Camrys up front. We all just kind of worked together and developed a plan and it seemed to work. I wish it was our Toyota Camry in Victory Lane, but, you know, you can’t be greedy.”
RACE: Sprint Cup Daytona 500
CAR: No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet
NOTEWORTHY: Ran among leaders during first 100 laps, faded during second half of race.
BUSCH SEZ: “I thought it was a good first half of the race. We seemed to have things where we wanted them and the second half of the race things didn’t seem to go as smooth. I made a couple of drafting errors and then one of the pit stops we had to wait on fuel. When you are at the tail end of the lead draft we just had to come in, put four tires on it, fill it up and then go after it. I was able to work my way back up. I fell to the back again. I did what I could to gather the draft. I’m real proud of everybody not giving up.”
RACE: Xfinity Series Powershares QQQ 300
CAR: No. 62 South Point Chevrolet
NOTEWORTHY: Used quick pit stops to jump to the front; led nine laps in race won by Chase Elliott.
GAUGHAN SEZ: “A top-10 at Daytona is great. It was fun getting on and off pit road; I passed five guys coming in on the first pit stop. My crew is excellent on pit road, coming out in the lead was great. We had an excellent pusher during the race. I love this stuff; (Richard Childress Racing) gave me a great racecar that was a lot better than 10th. Top 10s are hard to come by in this series but I’ll gladly take it and look forward to Atlanta next weekend.”
RACE: Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250
TRUCK: No. 23 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet
NOTEWORTHY: Spun after getting tapped from behind by Cody Coughlin just before first caution clock yellow light was to be displayed. Teammate Johnny Sauter won race marred by two huge crashes in closing laps.
GALLAGHER SEZ: “We had a very fast Allegiant Chevrolet Silverado, we were just trying to work our way forward. We got into an unfortunate incident while coming to pit road early in the race and that turned our night around. I am just happy for the entire GMS Racing organization. We came to Daytona and put two trucks on the front row, then won the race. It was great to see Johnny (Sauter) in Victory Lane.”
— Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0352. Follow him on Twitter: @ronkantowski