Saturday, February 18, 2012

Kyle Busch Survives Wild Shootout to Win

Kyle Busch survived two near-spins and a frantic run to the finish to win the Budweiser Shootout.  The first save came on lap 48, when Jimmie Johnson tapped Busch's rear bumper, sending him onto the apron, then back up on the track.  On lap 74, Jeff Gordon got into the back of Busch, and while Busch was able to save his car, Gordon made contact with Kurt Busch and started a multi-car accident.  After the field went back green, Busch pushed Stewart into the tri-oval, where he ducked out from behind the No. 14 and beat Stewart by .010 seconds.

Kyle Busch nips Tony Stewart at the line (Photo courtesy Getty Images)
NASCAR made changes to the cars prior to the 2012 season so that it would make it harder for drivers to tandem draft with each other, and the racing returned to the big packs.  The big pack did not take long to produce "The Big One."  On lap 9, David Ragan turned Paul Menard, setting off a chain-reaction crash that also collected Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Michael Waltrip, and Matt Kenseth.  Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, and Tony Stewart were also damaged in the accident.

The second "Big One" occurred with 20 laps remaining, when Marcos Ambrose tapped Joey Logano to start a multi-car accident that destroyed the cars of Ambrose, Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., and Matt Kenseth.

Jeff Gordon's car flips after getting into a wreck with two laps to go (Photo courtesy Getty Images)

 Then, coming to the white flag, Jeff Gordon got into the back of Kyle Busch and sent him sideways.  The wreck collected Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, and Jamie McMurray.  As a result of the wreck, Gordon was sent sliding down the track on his driver's side door, then began to flip until finally coming to rest on his roof.

Kyle Busch celebrates winning the Budweiser Shootout (Photo courtesy Getty Images)
This race was a little nerve-wracking, but overall it was a very close race that did not disappoint.  On Sunday, the drivers will return to the track, to qualify for the Daytona 500.  We are now within a week of "The Great American Race," and I cannot be more excited.  I'm ready to see Mark Martin's first race in the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing car.  Who knows, maybe when the checkered flag falls, Mark Martin will find himself in victory lane for the first time in his long career.

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