Kyle Busch wins second Budweiser Duel at DaytonaBy Ashley McCubbin
Under a pit stop with 20 to go, Kyle Busch would take fuel only and have a solid pit stop to come off pit road in the lead. He would lead the rest of the way to win his first Budweiser Duel in four years. It also marks the second fastest Duel in NASCAR History with Busch completing the race with an average speed of 193.966 mph.
“It’s hard to pass the leader,” Busch said. “When you get out front, you can run pretty good. You just need to get out there and lead. There wasn’t enough lane-by-lane racing here, but you use the tools that you have once you figured it out and win.”
With 30 to go, Busch was running third in line and pulled out to try and make a move, however ended up falling back a couple positions.
“I tried to make a move,” he said. “I thought if I slide drafted off of the 31 (Jeff Burton) I could get back there. I knew I didn’t have much to lose since there were only two cars behind me. Coming on pit road, conserving the tires. That’s what won us the race there. dave made a great call getting no tires.”
Kasey Kahne tried to make a move on the last lap from the third position, however came up short finishing second.
“Maybe should have made my move a lap earlier cause that’s when I felt Austin pushing the most,” Kahne said. “I wanted to do it with two to go and see where we’d end up – but that’s a good run for the Farmers Insurance Chevrolet.”
Kahne says that if he could win his first Daytona 500 on Sunday, it would be amazing.
“We’ve gained a lot since the Sprint race on Saturday night to where we are at now and I feel if we gain a little more, we can be in the hunt,” he added.
Richard Childress’ grandson Austin Dillon finished third and will make his first Daytona 500 start on Sunday.
“That’s awesome,” Dillon said. “Got a little nervous before that. Just stayed in it the whole team, stayed right there with Kasey Kahne all race. Wanted to get a Chevrolet in the 500 but couldn’t get by Kyle there.”
Clint Bowyer finished fourth while Matt Kenseth rounded out the top five as he begins his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing.
“I feel like I’ve tried to do all the right things,” Kenseth said. “I saw the 5 (Kahne) coming, but I knew the outside was quicker so tried to stay out there with him and hoped the 15 (Bowyer) would get there at the last moment. But then the 15 made the move to the inside at the last minute. I should’ve made the move on the 18 (Busch) before the 5 could make the move on me. Guess I have to make my moves better.”
Mark Martin finished sixth, followed by Paul Menard, Jeff Burton, Jamie McMurray and David Regan.
Marcos Ambrose finished 11th with Jeff Gordon 12th. Gordon locked himself into the second starting spot for the Daytona 500 in qualifying last Sunday. Gordon led the first half of the Budweiser Duel, however suffered a pit road speeding penalty under the green flag stops. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Bobby Labonte also sufferd pit road speeding penalties.
Aric Almirola finished 13th, followed by Stenhouse Jr., Dave Blaney and Josh Wise.
“It’s awesome,” Wise said after qualifying for his first Daytona 500. “It’s a huge amount of stress lifted off our shoulders. We knew if we stayed out of trouble and ran our race we’d get the transfer there.”
Ryan Newman would suffer problems coming on to pit road as he would spin the car out, barely touching the outside wall, as the field came down pit road. He would blow out a tire, however made it back to pit road without further damage. There was no caution for the spin.
As a result of the Budweiser Duels, Mike Bliss and Brian Keselowski failed to make the Daytona 500.