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Published: Monday, 2/18/2008

Kyle Busch frustrated by finish


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Kyle Busch ran more laps than anyone during Speedweeks. He led a bunch of them too.

Just not the ones that really mattered.

Busch finished fourth in the Daytona 500 yesterday, ending a hectic weekend that also included strong showings in the Craftsman Truck Series and the Nationwide Series.

Busch was second in both of those.

He was considerably better in the big one, leading a race-high 86 laps and dominating most of the afternoon.

But several late cautions kept the field bunched together, and Penske Racing teammates Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch hooked up to prevent Busch from getting to Victory Lane.

"Just frustrating to come home fourth," Busch said. "But that's part of the Daytona 500 when you run as good as we had all day long. Those guys couldn't keep up with us, but there were all those cautions at the end that propelled them forward enough in order to get them ahead."

LIVING LEGENDS: Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough sat next to each other yesterday, maybe the perfect pairing for NASCAR's celebration of the 50th running of the Daytona 500.

Yarborough and Bobby Allison joined nearly two dozen Daytona 500 winners brought together by NASCAR.

The former Daytona 500 winners played a key role in a daylong tribute to five decades of racing at NASCAR's most famous track.

The winners, including Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt and Junior Johnson, collectively gave the command for drivers to start their engines.

Three former champions were missing during the pre-race drivers' meeting: Darrell Waltrip was working as a television analyst; David Pearson had an emergency; and seven-time race winner Richard Petty had another engagement.

Petty later joined them trackside and dropped the green flag to start the race.

GENERALLY SPEAKING: Despite recently announcing a record financial loss, General Motors is committed to staying in NASCAR.

GM lost $38.7 billion in 2007 and has announced a round of employee buyouts.

But General Motors vice president of global sales and marketing John Middlebrook said the company's outlook is brighter than that number would indicate.

And he said now is no time to stop spending on its Chevrolet brand and that NASCAR would be "the last racing that we would drop," because the return on their investment is high.

OLD SCHOOL: NASCAR went old school with its pre-race concert, bringing in some big names from the past.

Chubby Checker, Kool & The Gang and Michael McDonald all performed.

YEARWOOD'S PICK: Country music star Trisha Yearwood sang the national anthem, adding to her impressive resume of places she's sang "The Star Spangled Banner."

Yearwood has performed at NFL playoff games, the World Series and even the closing ceremonies for the Olympics.

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