Kurt Busch in the 59th running of the Daytona 500 wins in NASCAR’s grandest event. On the final lap Busch grabbed the lead from Kyle Larson and held off a charging Ryan Blaney to win his first Daytona 500.
In his No. 41 Ford for Stewart-Hass Racing Busch achieved his first Daytona 500 victory in 17 tries to get his name in the record books for all time.
He did some fantastic and patient driving weaving his way to take the lead in a wild finish when two drivers Chase Elliot and Ryan Newman simply ran out of gas and fell back into the pack.
The race was marred with wrecks with four multi-car accidents on a day full of them after the first 60 laps were relatively quiet. The first wreck unfolded on Lap 104 when a flat rear tire caused Kyle Busch to spin which involved Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Ty Dillon, Erik Jones and Elliot Sadler who was the only driver able to continue to the race. In Laps 127, 135, and 141 other wrecks occurred impacting the field of drivers including last years winner Denny Hamlin, and the 2015 winner Joey Logano.
Kyle Busch won Stage 1 (60 laps), while Kevin Harvick took Stage 2, (61-120 laps earning 10 racing points and 1 playoff point apiece. Meanwhile, Kurt Busch earned 40 race points and five playoff points for his big win.
Ryan Blaney finished second in his No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford with some fancy driving, while AJ Allmendinger took third in his No. 47 Chevrolet, and Aric Almirola No. 43 and Paul Menard No. 27 rounded out the top five finishers respectively.
The racing season has begun and it’s going to be different. Under the new rules the days of patching up a wrecked car are over for now. As wreck after wreck collected some big names and former Daytona 500 winners, fans reacted with a sigh of relief or ‘Oh no!’ the day is over. Under the new rules to prevent drivers with too much damage from returning to the track to shed more debris for cars to maneuver around, and for safety, if a car cannot be repaired in a five minute window on pit road automatically heads to the garage and their day of racing is over.
The next race will be the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 on Sunday March 5th starting 2:30 PM at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.