Kurt Busch wins the Daytona 500

SOURCE: AP Photo/Chuck Burton

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart can cross a Daytona 500 victory off their wish list.

Busch was an also-ran following his first 15 starts in NASCAR’s season-opening race before taking the checkered flag today with a surge on the last lap. It’s also the first Daytona 500 win for Stewart-Haas Racing, and the first for Stewart as an owner or driver.

However, the race appeared to be Chase Elliott’s to lose as the pole-sitter found himself ahead of the field late in the race, just three days after winning one of the Twin 150s. But Elliott ran out of fuel with three laps remaining, and Kyle Larson ran out of gas two laps later after taking the lead from Elliott. Martin Truex Jr. and Paul Menard were victimized by empty gas tanks as well, allowing Busch to win.

Ryan Blaney was second, followed by AJ Allmendinger and Aric Almirola.

The race was slowed by wreck after wreck after wreck, including a 17-car accident at the start of the final stage that ended the race for seven-time and reigning series champion Jimmie Johnson and Danica Patrick. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was among 15 drivers who were knocked out of the race by wrecks.