BUSCH Winn-Dixie 250

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Kyle Busch wins Winn-Dixie 250 at Daytona

Jul 7, 2007 - 7:10 PM DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Ticker) -- Kyle Busch proved he can still be a force on the racetrack - even on short rest.

Busch held off Kevin Harvick in a green-white-checkered finish to win Saturday morning's NASCAR Busch Series Winn-Dixie 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

It was the first Busch Series victory this season and the eighth career for Busch, who visited Victory Lane for the first time since March 25, 2006 at Bristol.

"It was definitely a good race car," said Busch, who averaged 139.091 miles per hour and won $87,425. "All we had to do was keep it out front and try to keep the mistakes to a minimum."

Originally scheduled for Friday night, the 102-lap event was postponed due to inclement weather. The rain also forced the cancellation of qualifying for the Nextel Cup Series Pepsi 400, which is scheduled for Saturday night.

However, the early start did not slow down Busch, who has been surrounded by controversy and speculation over the last four weeks.

Busch essentially became a free agent June 13 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced he would join Hendrick Motorsports' Nextel Cup Series stable next season, a move which left the 22-year-old without a team or a ride for 2007.

But the talented Busch believed Saturday's victory was an important step in the right direction.

"It's big," he said. "It's big because I proved to everybody that I don't give up. I'm here to win races just like everyone else."

Busch also exorcised some demons here at Daytona's 2 1/2-mile superspeedway - the site of the season-opening Orbitz 300 on February 17. Busch led four times for 46 laps in that race but was forced to withdraw with a faulty fuel pump on lap 83.

"We finally got one," he said Saturday. "This is where it all started this year. We missed out on it then but we got it back today."

Busch was primed to coast to a victory before things got interesting with three laps left, when Juan Pablo Montoya's Dodge Charger spun out along the front straightaway and ran onto the infield to force a caution.

But Busch's Chevrolet Monte Carlo beat out Harvick's Chevrolet off the restart, paving the way for the youngster's long-awaited triumph.

"It was definitely going to be a hairy battle," Busch said. "I knew Kevin Harvick wanted it just as much as we did."

Harvick ran second, followed by the Toyota Camry of Dave Blaney and the Chevrolets of Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer.

"Once we got our car tightened back up and were able to get back to where I could control the thing, we were able to make ground there and get back through the field," Harvick said. "We put ourselves in position there at the end and got to about the rear tire and just didn't have any pushing."

Current series points leader Carl Edwards finished 11th in a Ford Fusion while 2006 race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran 14th in a Chevrolet.

Despite placing outside the top 10 for just the fourth time in 19 races this season, Edwards owns an overwhelming 798-point lead in the series standings.

Saturday's race featured 11 lead changes among six drivers and included six caution periods totaling 20 laps.

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