DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) ?? Only six of 43 cars made it unscathed to the finish line of the NASCAR Nationwide Series opener at Daytona International Speedway.
James Buescher was not driving one of those clean cars.
Still, he managed to dodge and weave his way through an 11-car accident on the last lap of Saturday's Drive4COPD 300, stealing the victory and setting the stage for what's expected to be a wild Daytona 500.Buescher joined unknown John King, winner of Friday night's Camping World Truck Series opener, as surprise winners this weekend at Daytona. Both came from nowhere to win crash-marred races.Buescher was in 11th place as he rounded the final turn and made his way through a massive pack of spinning race cars."They all piled up in front of me, and we made it through," Buescher said. "It's hard to describe the feeling when you make it through the wreck and you're the only guy. You don't see anybody in front of you coming to the checkered flag. It's pretty incredible."
Buescher, driver for Turner Motorsports, was listed in two of the eight caution periods, and said he was just trying to get a top-10 finish at the end.
Danica Patrick, who was on the pole for the race, crashed for the second time in three days. She was running in the middle of the pack when her No. 7 Chevrolet spun entering Turn 3 on the 50th lap. Replays showed JR Motorsports teammate Cole Whitt's No. 88 Chevrolet bump-drafting the back of Patrick's car before the spin. She finished in 38th place.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.)