DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Kyle Busch, driving the No. 5 Delphi Chevrolet, celebrated his 100th Busch Series start by capturing his first Busch Series win at Daytona International Speedway Saturday morning in an exciting green-white-checker finish at the rain-postponed sixth annual Winn-Dixie 250 presented by PepsiCo.
Following Busch across the finish line were Kevin Harvick in the No. 21 AutoZone Chevrolet and the No. 10 Seymour Paints Toyota of Dave Blaney.
Busch, whose previous best finish in the Busch Series at the World Center of Racing was 11th in this race in 2004, led at the halfway point and was never far from the front of the pack for the majority of the race, leading 65 of 102 laps. Back in February, Busch also seemed to be the car to beat, leading 46 laps before having to retire from the race due to a problem with the fuel pump.
"It was definitely going to be a hairy battle," Busch said. "I knew Harvick wanted it just as bad as we did. (The crew) did an awesome job. We finally get one. This is where it all started this year and we ended up missing out on it. But, we got it back here today, so I'm very proud of this team. (This win) means a lot."
Harvick, who swept the Daytona 300 and Daytona 500 here in February, had to overcome some adversity on his way to earning his 11th straight top-10 at Daytona.
"I think the last 10 races here (at Daytona), the worst we've finished is eighth," Harvick said. "We've always run really well here and for whatever reason, always find ourselves in contention at the end of the race. I guess this is a good place to do that.
"We had a lot of trouble today - we couldn't get the tire off, the alternator went out, just really, really loose the first round and had to back out of the pack to wait to get our car fixed. Once we got our car tightened up and were able to get back to where I could control the thing, we were able to make it around there and get back through the field. We put ourselves in position there at the end and got to about the rear tire (of Kyle's car) and just didn't have anybody to push me. We had a really strong car. I felt like if we could ever get to the lead it would be light's out, but just came up one short and never quite made it. Still, it was a great day for us and a lot of fun to race."
Blaney echoed Harvick’s feelings about getting to the front and the strength of Busch’s car.
"It was a good day," said Blaney, who finished second in the Daytona 300 in February. "I wish we could have got to the front one time, I think it would have been over, but we just couldn’t make it there. Kyle was way fast and ran a good line."
The Winn-Dixie 250 was rescheduled due to rain Friday night. It was also lengthened to 102 laps after a caution for debris on lap 99. With both the Winn-Dixie 250 and the Pepsi 400 being run on Saturday, many of the drivers have the potential to log 650 miles in just over 12 hours. Many of their crews will be working a double-shift as well. This is the first time that the Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series have raced at Daytona on the same day.
Tickets for the 50th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17, can be purchased by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or going online at www.racetickets.com.