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Busch rebounds to win Coke Zero 400

Jul 6, 2008 - 4:10 AM DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Ticker) -- Kyle Busch rallied from an early race mishap Saturday to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

Busch dropped to 37th on lap 82 with steering wheel issues, but battled back to win his sixth race of the season. The race ended on the final lap during a green-white-checkered finish with Busch inches ahead of Carl Edwards when the caution flew, freezing the field.

Busch and Edwards had to wait several minutes as NASCAR reviewed its scoring data to determine who was out front at the time of the caution.

The victory gave Busch some measure of satisfaction after he finished second in this race the past two years.

"I can't believe that we're here right now," Busch said in Victory Lane. "We didn't have the best car. Luckily, we were leading there when it mattered most."

It didn't appear Busch would have a chance for the win when Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin tapped him just over 80 laps in, causing the No. 18 Toyota to move down to the apron with a shaky steering wheel.

But Busch was able to rebound to take the lead from Jeff Gordon with four laps remaining. He then led the field to green during the green-white-checkered finish which was brought on by a seven-car wreck that collected two-time reigning series champion Jimmie Johnson.

During the final laps, Matt Kenseth appeared to push Busch rather than Roush Fenway Racing teammate Edwards.

"I was trying to push Carl but I couldn't square him up," said Kenseth, who finished third. "It was just crazy at the end. I tried to get to Carl, but I almost wrecked myself and Kyle."

It was the third time Edwards finished second to Busch this season, including runner-up finishes at Darlington and Dover.

"I just drove as hard as I could," Edwards said. "I just hate losing. Congratulations to Kyle. I did everything I could.

"Man, I hate to lose the thing like that. I wish we could have raced a little longer."

With the win, Busch increased his lead in the standings to 182 points over Dale Earnhardt Jr., who moved up to second after finishing eighth.

Jeff Burton, who entered the race in second, finished 37th after wrecking twice and slipped to third, 202 points behind Busch. It was Burton's first finish out of the top-15 this season.

Kurt Busch was fourth in a Dodge, followed by Roush Fenway driver David Ragan.

Clint Bowyer, Robby Gordon, Earnhardt, Brian Vickers and Mark Martin rounded out the top-10.

Tony Stewart was replaced by relief driver J.J. Yeley 72 laps in after suffering from flu-like symptoms. Yeley brought the No. 20 Toyota home 22nd.

Gordon was pushed out of line and into the infield on lap 161, ending any hopes of snapping his 22-race winless streak. Instead, he wound up 30th.

"Everybody was laying back and trying to get a run on the last restart," Gordon said. "They got the jump on me. I tried to block him. Maybe I came across (Edwards') nose. Hard to say. It's unfortunate. We had such a strong run."

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