James Buescher wins DRIVE4COPD 300 after Last Lap Crash

[media-credit name=”David Yeazell” align=”alignright” width=”231″][/media-credit]Going into the final corner, it looked as if Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart, or Joey Logano would find themselves in victory lane. However, coming out of turn four, Kurt Busch would slide up, getting into Logano, who would get into Stewart, wrecking the entire front of the field. As the mess sorted out, James Buescher would find himself as the first driver crossing the finish line to win the DRIVE4COPD 300.

“Nobody wanted to work with us at the end,” Buescher said in victory lane. “We just got the best draft we could after everybody. I saw everybody wrecking there, I just went to the bottom and tried to get by all of it. We didn’t have a lot of track position there, but we stuck with it and we won.”

The victory marked the first victory for Buescher in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

“Anytime you win a race, it means a lot,” car owner Steve Turner said. “But with our goal of working with young drivers, gives us a good shot and makes me feel comfortable that we’ve put the right guys in the right place. We’ve really changed our organization over the off-season to cater to the young drivers.”

Buescher hadn’t escaped trouble all day long as he was involved in the caution on lap 75. Michael Annett got into Brian Scott, turning him into the side of Buescher before Scott hit the wall. The team worked on fixing the damage and were trying to work their way up at the end.

Brad Keselowski, who had fallen back in the pack with Buescher, would be credited with finishing second.

“I don’t know how we brought the Discount Tire Dodge home; lots of squirming around there,” Keselowski said. “If we could’ve got through without that minor damage, we could’ve won.”

Sadler, who was pushing Stewart at the time of the incident, would escape being wrecked to finish third and be the highest driver in the finishing order that’s running the full Nationwide Series schedule.

“It felt like the leader came up and tried to block, and blocked too late, and pinched the 20 into the wall in front of us,” Sadler said. “We had a run there and a good shot to win the race. It’s so fun running with Tony Stewart as he always knows how to use the right lane.”

Rookie Cole Whitt would find his way around the incident to finish in the fourth place position. Whitt had a rough day himself. On lap 49, he got into the back of Danica Patrick to push her at the wrong time in the middle of the corner, turning her into the wall.

“I don’t think it’s ever great when teammates come together,” Patrick, who finished 38th, said. “We’ll have to figure out what happened and move forward.”

“We’re teammates,” Whitt said. “We want our team to win. I mean, that’s why we were pushing each other anyways – we want to get our team up front together.”

Patrick quickly displayed her displeasure with Whitt, which Whitt said, “I wouldn’t expect her to be happy about it. I wouldn’t be happy about it either. I don’t know why anyone would expect her to be like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s great.’ ”

Then once on pit road after the incident, Whitt would get turned around backwards on pit road as he was coming into his pit while Kyle Busch was leaving his.

Rookie Austin Dillon would survive the last lap scramble to come home in the fifth position.

“We didn’t get to stick to our game plan like we wanted to at the beginning of the race,” Dillon said. “Changed up, got dropped to the back.  Had to work our way back to the front.  Got hooked up with Elliott at one point in time.  Got back up to a decent stop.  Got some track position. Then we got faded back again.  Hooked up with Jr.  Drove to the front.  That one run felt really good pushing with him and Elliott, too.  It was fun.  It was difficult to tandem through the pack.  You had to fish your way through the pack.  When you had a gap to push, you could push.

“My car was really good at pushing today.  The Advocare Chevrolet was fast enough to get to the front.  Ended up in the front.  Doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as you finish up there, so it was fun.”

Tayler Malsam and Timmy Hill sneak by the wreck to finish sixth and seventh, while Tony Stewart would finish eighth, going for his fifth consecutive Daytona victory.

“I don’t know that we even made it to turn four,” Stewart said. “We got a big run on the outside and all of a sudden the door got slammed on us. I don’t know why whoever it was turned right, but it wasn’t a very good time to either try blocking or moving. It was definitely not the finish we wanted for sure. We had an awesome (car) today.”

Kasey Kahne would finish ninth with Kurt Busch rounding out the top 10.

“We were up front, leading laps and doing exactly what James Finch would have wanted,” he said. “We took the white leading and had the lead halfway down the back. Everybody was side drafting and we got separated.

“I went to crowd the outside lane, didn’t know that there were two cars up there. I thought it was just a single lane. I was trying to side draft to get the best finish I could at the end. Everybody was racing to the end. Man, a lot of tore up cars. That’s just everybody full throttle at the end.”

This wouldn’t be the only incident of the afternoon that Busch would receive the blame for as with 17 to go, he would try to squeeze through a hole three-wide that wasn’t there. The result would be a 20-car wreck that included Robert Richardson Jr., Denny Hamlin, Justin Allgaier, Kenny Wallace, Casey Roderick, Reed Sorenson, Johanna Long, Ryan Truex, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Dillon, Mike Wallace and TJ Bell.

“I quickly reminded myself why I don’t run these races,” Hamlin said. “It’s hard to control your fate in these races….had been running up front, was up front there, and just a chain reaction. Looked like Kyle and Kurt got a run up through the middle there and scared some people.”

The middle part of the wreck saw Sorenson drive partly under Allgaier’s car.

“I saw guys spinning in front of me and tried to get around them, but got caught up with another guys,” he said. “With having the two-car tandems and pack racing, guys are getting runs there that shouldn’t be.”

The next race for the Nationwide Series is next weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com


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