The driver of the #18 M&M’s Toyota clinched his first victory in NASCAR’s all-star race at Daytona on Saturday. Kyle Busch wins the closest finish in Budweiser Shootout history as Busch edged out defending Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart for the win with a .013 second margin of victory.
However, the truly remarkable part of Busch’s win was perhaps not the record-setting finish, but his two key recoveries from near-wrecks that kept him on track throughout the 75 lap race. The star-studded 25-driver race was also studded with crashes as pack racing replaced two-car tandem drafting for the first time in years.
NASCAR had tweaked rules in the off season in attempts to end the tandems that had grown unpopular with fans and drivers, and the Shootout proved their efforts successful. However, it was also evident on Saturday that the return to the old-style pack also brings aggressive racing and the dangers of more multi-car pile-ups.
NASCAR now looks to see how pack racing will fare in the first official green flag of the Sprint Cup season, next Sunday’s Daytona 500.