Kurt Busch won the exhibition Budweiser Shootout on Saturday night when Denny Hamlin was penalized for going below the out-of-bounds line at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The first NASCAR race on Daytona’s new pavement created sizzling fast speeds — cars went faster than 206 mph at one point — and created packs of two cars all around the oval.
That made a four-car breakaway in the final few laps, with Ryan Newman leading Hamlin around the oval with Busch and Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray trailing close behind. Nobody else could catch the four cars, which stayed in line in preparation for the frenzied finish.
Newman, as the leader, said he knew he was “a sitting duck” as he waited for Hamlin’s attempted pass. It came as they closed in on the checkered flag, when Hamlin went low and eventually under the yellow line that circles the bottom of the track.
Hamlin crossed the finish line first, but was black-flagged and placed 12th.
NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Michael Annett said he is “definitely owning up” to his mistake for his Feb, 6 arrest for driving while impaired following a two-car accident in Mooresville, N.C. ... Defending Daytona 500 champion McMurray scraped the wall in practice and will switch to a backup car for the season opener Feb. 20. ... NASCAR has lowered the age limit for drivers competing in its regional touring series from 16 to 15.