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Jeff Gordon’s car slides on its side during a crash in the NASCAR Budweiser Shootout auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Saturday in Daytona Beach, Fla. Jimmie Johnson (48) is next to Gordon. Photo: Yahoo Sports
Busch wins Bud Shootout in crash marred night

By Yahoo Sports

NASCAR’s Budweiser Shootout, the opening race of the 2012 season, may not be for points but there was no doubt that it was a wild and dramatic race, full of sparks and flames and even panic. Veteran driver Jeff Gordon was involved in the scariest of the night as his car flipped upside down onto its roof in the final laps of the race. Somehow he got up and walked away completely unscathed.

Although Kurt Busch had been highly favored to win, it was little brother Kyle over the 2011 Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart, by just .013 seconds, the closest finish in the event’s history. He made a great comeback after being involved in one of the many wrecks of the night. Kurt wound up finishing 17th.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was looking good early on, leading for 12 laps, but bad luck struck once again as both he and Kevin Harvick, another favored driver, had their cars destroyed along the way. The first of four crashes on the night began with Kasey Kahne in the eighth lap, completely wiping him out. With the pack racing back in full force, it looks like the multicar pileups will be as well.

It was David Ragan who triggered the wreck on lap nine after running into Paul Menard. He remarked, “Everybody was real racy and I just got into the back of Menard. You get a good run and you’re pushing a little bit and I guess he was pushing whoever was in front of him and when you’ve got the meat in between the sandwich you usually get wrecked. If I would have known that he was pushing the car in front of him, I probably could have backed off a little bit, but just probably pushing a little too hard.”

Daytona 500 could be more than a little messy next weekend, and it’ll be interesting to see how it pans out with Danica Patrick making her debut. Those with less experience could very well create a domino effect of collisions on the track.

Tonight’s race results ended with Marcos Ambrose following Stewart to take third and Brad Keselowski at fourth place, followed by Denny Hamlin finishing in fifth. What will happen next Sunday, February 26, could be anyone’s guess, but the odds are, most of fireworks won’t be seen in the sky.

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