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'Wild Thing' Busch gives Tony Stewart a driving lesson

by Mark J. Cipolloni
Saturday, February 18, 2012

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Kyle Busch, NASCAR's best driver, did the impossible again
Getty Images for NASCAR
Kyle Busch put on a show at Daytona, pulling off a slingshot pass of Tony Stewart coming to the start/finish line and winning the Budweiser Shootout. 

Busch, proving once again he is the best driver in NASCAR by a long shot, was turned sideways twice in the race, first by Jimmie Johnson and then by Jeff Gordon, but both times he saved the car while sparks flew from his car as it straddled the apron and the banking at a 45-degree angle. 

Then in the last 100 yards he smoked Tony 'Smoke' Stewart and gave him a driving lesson he won't soon forget.

Kyle Busch was turned sideways twice, and saved it twice
Getty Images for NASCAR
The victory was Busch's first in the Budweiser Shootout which was run in two segments of 25 and 50 laps. His winning margin over Stewart was 0.013 seconds.

Marcos Ambrose recovered from a pair of wrecks to finish third, followed by Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin.

Stewart had just taken the lead on Lap 74 of a scheduled 75 when a violent wreck in Turn 4 sent Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet barrel-rolling through Turn 4 and sliding on its roof toward the entrance to pit road.

Gordon was following Kyle Busch on the backstretch, and contact between the cars turned Busch's down onto the apron. Busch made a dramatic save for the second time in the race, but Gordon slid up the track into the Chevrolets of Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray.

As all three cars contacted the outside wall, Jimmie Johnson's Chevrolet nosed beneath the right rear bumper of Gordon's car and turned it upside down.

The wreck left 11 cars on the lead lap and sent the race to overtime.

On Lap 55 a chain-reaction wreck that started with contact between the cars of pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr., Ambrose and Joey Logano also eliminated Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth.

The resulting fourth caution of the race bunched the field for a restart on Lap 62, with Greg Biffle in the lead, followed by Hendrick Motorsports teammates Gordon and Johnson and reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Stewart.

McMurray was at the front of the field when NASCAR called the competition caution after Lap 25. Gordon, undeterred by minor damage to his car, was second, followed by Harvick, Kyle Busch and Ambrose.

Post-Race Quotes

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position:  1st How many times did you actually save the car during the race?
"I don't know how many times I spun out and didn't spin out.  Amazing race -- I can't say enough about all these guys and this M&M's Camry was fast.  It was fun to drive when I wasn't getting turned around.  Tough race, but a fun race.  Glad to see the pack back like that and making it interesting for us drivers -- hopefully, it was great for the fans as much as it was for us drivers.  Again, first race back in the M&M's car and we're back in victory lane -- pretty cool.  I can't say enough about Interstate Batteries, Toyota, the Sprint Cup Series -- thank Sprint and Monster Energy, thanks for giving me my boost."

How did you make the last pass on Tony Stewart?
"Somebody was in front of me -- the 39 (Ryan Newman) and then got hooked up and went and I'm like, 'Alright.'  I was trying to stay with the 39 and I pulled low and got in behind (Tony) Stewart and just mowed right up through there.  He had a fast car and took us by those guys around the outside and I'm like, 'It's a two-guy race right now and it's going to be either me or him coming to the start-finish line off of turn four.'  I've seen the move done before, it was my turn to do it this time -- Stewart had me the last time here in July a couple years ago.  I'm glad it was the M&M's car that put me here in victory lane."

Can you describe the last lap?
"We came to the restart and I restarted like eighth or 10th or something like that -- I was trying to get everybody to go by me because I had to restart at the back, but they all wanted to stay back there.  I fell in line behind (Ryan) Newman and I wanted to push Newman, but Newman hooked up with a guy in front of him so it was like, 'Alright, I don't have that option.'  I saw the 15 (Clint Bowyer) get turned sideways on the bottom so I pulled down underneath (Tony) Stewart and just let him kind of run the wave up through there and followed him up through.  Awesome race.  Great to see the pack- style racing back here in Daytona for the fans."

What did you do to save your car so many times?
"I have no idea.  Stab and steer -- that's what you do -- and some braking.  There were brakes involved too.  I didn't know if I was clear -- I thought I was clear.  These left side mirrors are so touchy so I tried going down slowly and Jimmie (Johnson) just must have been there a little bit and turned me sideways and got me on the apron.  Scared everybody half to death -- including me.  It got the field separated, but then the second time with (Jeff) Gordon behind me -- I don't know what the deal was there.  I would like to talk to him about it because we come off (turn) two and he had me sideways and then all the way down the backstretch I was still sideways -- left, right, left, right and everywhere.  We drove off into three and he turned me sideways again.  He was on my left side of my bumper instead of the right.  I don't know if he was just watching his mirror and he was getting pushed and couldn't control it or what.  I hate it that all those guys wrecked over there.  That was certainly a big one and I hope everybody's alright."

How damaged was the race car?
"It was hurt a little bit and certainly the car wasn't the same as what it was when we first started.  That left front corner is pretty soft right now being bent up and bent down a few times tonight.  This car -- it was our Daytona 500 backup car -- it's been through enough tonight that I think it's going to go home and be put on reserve for later.  The car we wrecked yesterday -- it's been on the plate.  I will say that the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing have been phenomenal this weekend.  They are working 24 hours a day at the shop trying to get that car and get it back here for Wednesday to be our backup car. Can't say enough about that.  TRD (Toyota Racing Development) engines were great and all these guys did a phenomenal job repairing it and putting it back together a couple times.  I'm glad to be standing in victory lane -- starting off the year right hopefully.  Busch brothers two years in a row."

DAVE ROGERS, crew chief, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What does this win do for your team starting the season?
"I'm real proud of this whole M&M's Toyota Camry race team.  Everybody on the team -- the spotter up top all the way down to the crew guys on pit road fixing it.  Obviously, Kyle Busch -- we are always going to give each other credit.  I think today he's eliminated all questions of who deserves credit.  That thing was wrecked twice and he saved it and still drove it to victory lane.  All the guys on this M&M's team worked really hard -- this was a backup car that had never seen the race track until the start of the race.  It started in the very back -- Kyle drove to the front -- two amazing saves and some damage at the end.  The guys kept working on it and they never gave up.  They put TRD (Toyota Racing Development) in victory lane for the first fuel injection race in NASCAR history -- that's real exciting.  A good night for us."

J.D. GIBBS, president, Joe Gibbs Racing Were you impressed with Kyle Busch's ability to save the car several times?
"That was a big deal.  It's one of those things -- three times tonight I was like, 'That's it, we're done, pack it up.'  Then you come back and say, 'Hey, we're still alive.  I'm going to have to go back and watch that on tape again just to appreciate it.  It's one of those things that you just need to take the time to evaluate it and realize what it was.  I would say that whoever the driver was that could do that -- you just need to appreciate it.  I think having it be Kyle (Busch) and our guy really was impressive and it means a lot for the whole M&M's team and our guys -- it was special."

Results

FIN

CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's Brown 0 82 Running
2 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Mobil 1 / Office Depot 0 82 Running
3 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley 0 82 Running
4 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 0 82 Running
5 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 0 82 Running
6 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 0 82 Running
7 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army / Quicken Loans 0 82 Running
8 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy 0 82 Running
9 99 Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal 0 82 Running
10 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 0 82 Running
11 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 0 82 Running
12 22 A.J. Allmendinger Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 0 80 Running
13 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 0 79 Running
14 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 0 75 Running
15 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 0 73 Running
16 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats 0 73 In Pit
17 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet HendrickCars.com 0 73 Running
18 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 0 54 In Pit
19 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 0 54 Running
20 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Diet Mountain Dew / National Guard 0 54 Running
21 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Best Buy 0 54 Running
22 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser 0 54 In Pit
23 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Peak / Menards 0 8 In Pit
24 34 David Ragan Ford Scorpion Truck Bed Liners 0 8 Running
25 140 Michael Waltrip Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 0 8 Running

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