DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – James Buescher was so far behind coming into the fourth turn on the final lap of Saturday’s Drive4COPD 300, he had plenty of time to steer through an 11-car crash.
Buescher’s Chevrolet emerged through the smoke, flying debris and spinning cars to pass 10 cars and become an improbable winner at the Daytona International Speedway.
“It happened quick but it was kind of slow in the moment,” he said.
A three-wide, two-deep battle involving Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Trevor Bayne, Joey Logano and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. turned into a melee when Busch moved up to block the on-coming charge.
“I was far enough back that I saw the outside line going to try to pass for the lead. Whoever was leading, I think it was the 1 car (Kurt Busch). I think he went up and tried to block a little bit, everybody started rubbing fenders. They all turned into the wall together.”
When that happened, Buescher slowed down and snaked his way through the crash, once moving far left of the yellow out of bounds line.
Just as he cleared the last damaged car, NASCAR threw the caution flag which locked him in as the race winner.
Danica Patrick started on the pole, but she was knocked off track – and into the wall – by Whitt, her JR Motorsports teammate. She lost 48 laps in the garage while her team made repairs.
Stewart was trying to win his seventh season-opening Nationwide Series race at Daytona in a row. He wound up eighth.