- Big milestone for Britain’s little Prince George who turns 1
- Murphy: Israel must be wary of Hamas using civilian deaths for recruitment
- Royce: Putin recruiting ‘every skinhead and malcontent around Russia’
- Nancy Pelosi is adamant: Congress worked together when Bush was president
- ‘Slender Man’ stabbing victim receives Purple Heart from anonymous veteran
- Kentucky city called socialist for buying gas station, undercutting competitor fuel prices
- Israel hits five mosques, sports complex in overnight Gaza strikes
- Hillary Clinton dogged for refusing reporters’ questions on book tour
- EPA tweet baffles: ‘I’m now a C-List celebrity in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood’ iPhone game
- Australian P.M. Abbott: MH17 evidence tampered with on ‘industrial scale’
Kyle Busch edges Tony Stewart in Shootout thriller
Question of the Day
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The pack is back. And so is the Big One.
Kyle Busch edged Tony Stewart in a thrilling finish to the first race of 2012, using a sling-shot pass Saturday night on the last lap of the exhibition Budweiser Shootout to beat the defending NASCAR champion to the checkered flag.
It gave Busch a victory in a wild race that included two incredible saves by the eventual winner to stay in contention in the 75-lap sprint around Daytona International Speedway.
“I don’t know how many times I spun out, but I didn’t spin out, you know?” smiled Busch, who gave Toyota its first Shootout victory.
The event was a preview of next weekend’s season-opening Daytona 500, and showed that NASCAR has successfully broken up the two-car tandem racing that dominated restrictor-plate racing last year. Fans were overwhelmingly opposed to that style of racing — NASCAR said earlier this month surveys showed over 80 percent of those polled hated the tandem — and the sanctioning body worked hard through the offseason to develop a rules package that would separate the cars.
It was obvious at the start that the new rules worked as the drivers were lumped into a big pack and raced two-and-three wide for almost the entire race. Although it led to two big accidents — including an accident that sent Jeff Gordon skidding on his roof for what he said was the first time in his career — the drivers were nearly unanimous in their approval of the racing.
“I actually had fun racing at Daytona again, which I haven’t had for a while,” said Stewart, who was beat by .013 seconds — the blink of an eye — to the finish line.
“I don’t know what the consensus is from everybody else, but I had more fun as a driver tonight than what we’ve had in the past.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr., a strong critic of the tandem racing, also was thrilled with the new product despite having his night ruined in one of the many accidents.
“I like this kind of racing better. At least I know what to expect,” he said. “And I feel like I’ve got a better chance with this style than I did last year.”
The first multi-car accident was a mere nine laps into the race, and began when David Ragan nudged Paul Menard to trigger the nine-car pileup.
A later wreck with two laps remaining sent Gordon sliding on his roof for roughly 1,000 feet. The four-time NASCAR champion ultimately climbed out the window with his car still upside down, but, like Earnhardt, praised the racing.
“It’s pretty wild and crazy, but I liked this better than what we had last year. Definitely,” he said.
Busch shrugged off his saves in Victory Lane.
“Stab and steer — that’s what you do — and some braking. There were brakes involved too,” Busch smiled.
”I’ve seen the move done before, it was my turn to do it this time,” he said.
U.S. appetite for drugs begets violence migrants are fleeing
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- Jewish woman booted from JetBlue flight over fight with Palestinian
- Hillary Clinton dogged for refusing reporters' questions on book tour
- YOUNG: A sinking presidency, deeper after November?
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
- Rep. Jared Polis' anti-fracking crusade riles Colorado
- MERRY: Handicaps in Hillary's way
- Hamas terrorists wear Israeli army uniforms to ambush soldiers in Gaza
- U.S. scrambles as violence escalates in Israel-Hamas conflict
- Edward Snowden to work with Russia on anti-spy technology
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq