Pit gamble costs Kurt Busch a win

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - JULY 07: Kurt Busch, driver of the #1 Global Poker Chevrolet, pits during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 07, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

After skating through the “Big One” on Lap 118, Kurt Busch had the lead in Sunday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

His stay at the front of the field, however, was short-lived. Even though weather was threatening, crew chief Matt McCall told Busch to come to pit road if NASCAR gave the one-to-go signal.

“Got poker chips all over the car, and we’re pushing them all-in,” Busch said on his radio in a reference to sponsor Global Poker.

The tower signaled an impeding restart on Lap 124, and Busch steered his No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet down pit road to top off with fuel.

But the race never restarted. Lightning in the area forced NASCAR to revert to caution, and a subsequent rainstorm ended the event with Justin Haley as the unlikely winner.

Even with the pit stop, Busch was 10th when the race was called, posting his 10th top 10 result of the season.

“I feel like we were in a really good position to win the race, and it’s just a matter of when the one random lightning bolt comes down to decide when you make the call,” Busch said “It was a judgment call on their part.”