Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Kyle Busch wins Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH — Kyle Busch had to wait for his spotter to radio him the results of the Coke Zero 400 last year, and didn't much like the results. Jamie McMurray had beaten him to the line by 0.005 seconds.

So he was prepared for the sting, but hopeful that video had captured an image of him inches ahead of Carl Edwards when a caution flew Saturday night, freezing the field during a green-white-checkered finish at Daytona International Speedway.

"I think it's ours," called his spotter. "We were out front. Is it ours?"

"I don't know," crew chief Steve Addington said. "They are looking at it. I don't know."

This time Busch got it.

The Sprint Cup points leader took advantage of a mistake by Jeff Gordon with three laps left, then won a fender-to-fender duel with Edwards when a wreck occurred during the overtime to claim his sixth Sprint Cup win this year and first Cup victory at Daytona.

Edwards finished second, followed by Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch.

"When I did see the yellow light come on I could barely see the nose of (Edwards' car) on my right front fender," Kyle Busch said. "I know how Carl feels for sure."

Edwards restarted third, but spun Gordon when Gordon chopped down on him at the restart; then Edwards began reeling in Busch. They reached the flagstand for the final lap deadlocked, but when a wreck in Turn 1 prompted the final caution, video replay was needed to set the final results.

"I was just driving as hard as I could," Edwards said. "I hate to lose that thing like that. (Busch's) brother was behind me, so I counted on a real good finish."

It's likely disconcerting enough for his competitors that Busch has won a third of the 18 Sprint Cup races of the season and 60 bonus points to pad his score entering the Chase for the Championship in September. But this wasn't the daring, petulant 23-year-old who has in the past been willing to gamble for the smallest of gains.

"You just had to keep a cool head tonight," Busch said. "I stayed in line because I knew if I tried something I would have wrecked."

Busch slid down on the apron after an incident with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin earlier, worked back through the field with a car he admitted was at best second to Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet. And then Busch stalked. He restarted second after a pit sequence with 24 laps remaining and stayed there until Gordon allowed him to spring.

Gordon led twice for 46 laps but Busch hunkered on his bumper for most of them.

Usually a bold mover, he was uncharacteristically patient, taking advantage of a Gordon mistake to slink into the lead on Lap 157 of a scheduled 160. Gordon, seeking his first victory of the season, allowed Busch to sneak underneath him for the lead when he swung high to block Kenseth just as a multicar melee occurred behind them.

"He didn't come back down soon enough," Busch said. "You can't maneuver these cars like you could the old one. We got the break there where we got the lead for the caution and then we were able to lead the restart."

The field froze under caution and Busch led for good.

"God dang it I screwed up," Gordon said over his team radio as he circled under caution. "I should have stayed on the bottom."

The impact of the mistake was compounded when Gordon ducked down into Edwards on the restart, sliding onto the apron and finishing 30th.

The race, quickly paced early as drivers bided their time and drove carefully in the slick summer conditions, became a dicey affair in the final 50 laps.

Brant James can be reached at or (727) 893-8804.

How they finished

The top five in the Coke Zero 400:

1. Kyle Busch

2. Carl Edwards

3. Matt Kenseth

4. Kurt Busch

5. David Ragan

Kyle Busch wins Coke Zero 400 at Daytona 07/06/08 [Last modified: Monday, July 7, 2008 5:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. St. Petersburg's Sebastien Bourdais vows to return for IndyCar finale

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Sebastien Bourdais was in one of the best race cars he'd ever had, so fast that most of his competitors thought he would win the pole for the Indianapolis 500.

    Sebastien Bourdais does physical therapy at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana in Indianapolis. Bourdais broke his pelvis, hip and two ribs in an accident during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 on May 20. He plans to return home to St. Petersburg soon to continue therapy. [Associated Press]
  2. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis


    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  3. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  4. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  5. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …