Kurt Busch held off a hard-charging pack of competitors to take a green-white-checkered win in Friday night’s Subway Jalapeno 250 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway.
“We brought it home to Victory Lane at Daytona,” an emotional Busch said. “That there is a statement – that’s what (owner) James Finch is all about. He loves Daytona and I’m happy that we were able to deliver. All of (the crew) came out to the start/finish line to be a part of the celebration. It’s all about heart, and it’s all about passion with these guys and I couldn’t be more proud of this team effort tonight.”
Pushing Busch to the win was pole-sitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr., followed by Michael Annett.
“(Kurt) was fast all night and I just pushed him to the win,” Stenhouse said. “I was hoping I could make a move there, but I saw the No. 3 car and everybody coming, so I tried to duck out and block them and we ended up second. It was a fun race.”
Busch, who has seven second-place points finishes at the “World Center of Racing,” and two non-points wins, explained the reason for the bright orange car that he nicknamed, “The Great Pumpkin.”
“There’s no other guy that gets as excited for Daytona as James Finch,” Busch said. “He wanted his cars orange so that they could be seen up front and so that the car could be recognized without a sponsor on it. We drove an unsponsored car into Victory Lane tonight.”
The race produced a new track record for lead changes (42) in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition at Daytona among 16 drivers. The 43-car field included six drivers that will pull double duty this weekend and participate in Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola.