Make us your home page
Instagram

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 brant@sptimes.com 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

Loading...
  1. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander

    Bucs

    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  2. Rays journal: Blake Snell continues roll in win over Cubs (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was still a game in the fifth inning when LHP Blake Snell walked the leadoff batter, then allowed a single. One swing by the Cubs' Ian Happ (22 home runs) could put a dent in the Rays' three-run lead.

    Blake Snell allows just two hits in pitching seven scoreless innings.
  3. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.

    Figures.

    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    One success story of this lost season is the emergence of LHP Blake Snell as the frontline starter the Rays projected. After a rough start and two demotions, he has been rolling, Wednesday's solid seven innings making him 4-0, 2.57 in his past eight starts.

  5. Rays at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Orioles

    7:05, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    This is a 2017 photo of Matt Andriese of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)