Dec. 11, 2015
With A Last Lap Pass: Kurt Busch Wins First Daytona 500 "Wreckfest"
17 years of trying. A last lap pass for the 11th time in Daytona 500 history. And 1 emotional crew chief. And that's just what Kurt Busch accomplished in 1/2 of a lap at Daytona. It's the rest of the 200 laps that were filled with cautions, wrecks, a 17 minute red flag and almost 30 drivers being sent to the garage way before they wanted to be.
It all started when Kyle Busch took the first stage win at lap 60, and then cut down a rear tire (he's still not sure if it was a left rear or a right rear) at lap 105, taking out big name drivers like Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr, as well as rookie Eric Jones. Busch went behind the wall in 38th place, while Dale Jr went behind the wall in 37th. A disappointing return to racing after being sidelined for 18 races with a concussion.
Kevin Harvick won stage 2, leading 50 of the 200 laps. A 17 car pileup on the backstretch on lap 128 took Harvick out of the race and he finished 22nd going 3 laps down.
A disheartened Chase Elliott, the pole-sitter on the front row with Dale Jr, ran out of gas on the white flag lap as well as more than half the vehicles in an 11-car lead draft.
Contact from Trevor Bayne sent Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet spinning on Lap 127. The 'Big One' also collected Danica Patrick, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Joey Gase, Chris Buescher and Landon Cassill, among others.
Johnson was running third when the wreck unfolded. He was ruled out of the race, along with Patrick, due to extensive damage that was not fixed in the five-minute window on pit road. The wreck involved 17 cars in total.
Less than 15 laps later, a wiggle from Chase Elliott's No. 24 Chevrolet caused a multi-car pile-up that involved Brad Keselowski, Jamie McMurray, Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon and Ryan Newman, and brought out the eighth caution flag at Lap 141. All told, 11 cars were involved. Together, the two wrecks reshaped the running of the 59th annual Daytona 500.