DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 6, 2008) – Kyle Busch is the runner-up no more at Daytona International Speedway.
After finishing second the past two years in the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola, and Friday night in the Nationwide Series race, Busch finally captured his first victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at historic Daytona International Speedway in a thrilling green-white-checkered finish.
Roush Fenway Racing teammates Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth finished second and third, respectively.
Busch, who was runner-up to Jamie McMurray last year in the second closest margin of victory in the Sprint Cup Series since the advent of computer scoring, took the lead as the 10th yellow of the night came out on lap 158 setting up the green-white-checkered finish.
On the white flag lap going through Turn 1, Busch and Edwards were battling for the lead as multiple cars crashed behind them bringing out the caution and freezing the field.
Videotape was reviewed to declare Busch the winner of the 50th running of the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola.
“Man, I can’t believe that we’re here right now,” Busch said. “We didn’t have the best car tonight but these guys never gave up and we never gave up out there on the race track.”
Busch, the current points leader, had to come from behind to capture his sixth win of the season. After using quick pit stops to take the lead, problems with steering caused the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to fall to the 37th position just after halfway.
Edwards, who was also looking for his first win in the Sprint Cup Series at the “World Center of Racing,” was disappointed with the second-place finish.
"Man, I hate to lose the thing like that,' Edwards said. “I wish we could have raced a little longer. Man, I’d have given anything to be able to run at least down to the end of the back staightaway, but that’s the way it went and Kyle did a great job.”
Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart suffered from flu-like symptoms throughout the day on Saturday. Despite receiving IV fluids prior to the race, the two-time Coke Zero 400 winner was forced to hand over driving duties of his No. 20 Home Depot Toyota to former Joe Gibbs Racing teammate J.J. Yeley on Lap 72. Yeley, who was not able to qualify for the race on time, looked like he would wheel the No. 20 Toyota to a top-10 finish, but was involved in the seven-car incident on Lap 158, leaving him with a 20th-place finish.
Other items of note…
· Reigning Daytona 500 champion Ryan Newman was involved in three cautions, one of which sent him to the garage. The No. 12 alltel/Samsung Dodge was able to come back out onto the track to take a 36th-place finish.
· Defending Coke Zero 400 winner Jamie McMurray finished the No. 26 IRWIN Marathon with WeldTec Ford 32nd after being involved in the sixth caution of the night with the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota of Brian Vickers on the restart.
· Following the flyover by the “Mighty Gorillas” of the 58th Fighter Squadron, part of the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., three-time Daytona 500 champion and founding member of the Coca-Cola Racing Family, Dale Jarrett, served as Grand Marshal and veteran driver/TNT announcer Kyle Petty led the cars around the track as the honorary pace car driver.
· The Coca Zero “Taste of Victory” program, a promotion that would give a free Coke Zero to every American 13 years old and up, was initially dependent on one of the members of the Coca-Cola Racing Family winning Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola. Even though that feat was not accomplished, Kyle Petty has decided to give everyone a free Coke Zero on him. Fans can log on to www.CokeZero.com between July 5 and July 13 and download a coupon for a free 20 oz. Coke Zero or Coca-Cola Classic.