(WOMR file photo)
James Buescher slithered through, around, and in between, the carnage that resulted from the pack racing, the impatience, and the will to win the Drive 4 COPD Saturday at the Daytona International Speedway.
As Buescher entered turn #3 on the last lap he was racing for 11th place. However, he was able to skillfully elude all the wrecking carnage and was the first race car to cross the start/finish line!
It was Buescher’s first Nationwide Series victory and ,needless to say, a huge victory it was for this young Texas native.
“It’s hard to put into words,” Buescher said of the win. “They all piled up in front of me and we made it through. It’s hard to describe the feeling when you make it through the wreck and you’re the only guy – you don’t see anyone in front of you and you’re coming to the checkered flag. It’s pretty incredible and I’ll definitely never forget it.”
Elliott Sadler finished second and Brad Keselowski was third. Austin Dillon was fourth and Tayler Malsam was fifth.
There were several yellow flags that involved many cars, kind of a return to “the big ones” that are associated with pack racing.
The final restart came with just three laps to go, and the excitement was about to be unleashed!
Kurt Busch again led the field on the restart. Right behind him in the pack, and in fourth place, was little brother, Kyle Busch. Next to Kurt on the front row was Stewart, who had Elliott Sadler behind him.
The Busch brothers got the best jump and went low. At the white flag, they had a four-car lead over Joey Logano and Trevor Bayne.
As the front-runners headed into Turn 4 on the final lap, a big wreck at the front took out the Busch brothers, Stewart, Bayne and Logano among others.
“I don’t know where to start,” Kyle Busch said. “I don’t know what happened, but great race car. Phenomenal job by the guys. We kind of battled back from being behind much of the day. Ran up front for much of the day too, so we were kind of back and forth a little bit. Just a great race pushing with Kurt (Busch) and working with him an awful lot and being able to get up there. I thought we had the race won and then those guys were coming on the top and I’m like, ‘Alright, let’s see where we settle in here.’ I thought when they all crashed up high that I was clear.
“I shot low, as low as I could and then somebody tagged me in the back and just hooked me dead right. It was a really, really hard hit and then there was a few more after that. It just seemed like they kept coming. I swore when they all went up high – I was the leader for a second and I was like, ‘I won this thing, it’s over – I can see the checkered flag.’
“Then within a split second of that I was in the fence and wrecked. I can’t say enough about Monster Energy and everybody there – all the guys that built this thing. It was a fast Camry. It was fun.”
Buescher, who is driving for Turner Motorsports in both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series this season, led 10 laps before finishing 17th in Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250. He now has two wins at the “World Center of Racing” with the previous triumph coming in the 2009 ARCA season opener.
“I can’t think of another race track that I would rather this (win) be at,” Buescher said. “Daytona is historical – everybody knows that – and every driver dreams of winning here. My goal as a young driver was to be able to race at Daytona in NASCAR and I’ve done that several times, but now I’ve finally won here. I don’t know how to put it into words.”
Check out the unofficial race results for The Drive 4 COPD from Daytona.
From my seat at the track, this was one of the most exciting Nationwide races at Daytona that I have personally witnessed in quite a few years!
What did you think?
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!