DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — As the celebration carried on from Sunday night into Monday morning, the congratulations rolled in for Daytona 500 champ Kurt Busch.
In between those texts Busch took time to make one call after his dramatic win Sunday night.
He called his parents, who had not attended the race.
His mom answered.
She was crying.
“We conquered Daytona,’’ Busch told his mom, Gaye.
It meant as much to her that Busch made it through the chaotic race unscathed.
“For years, my mom, she’s always had a displeasure for Daytona and Talladega because … you’re a victim of circumstances a lot of times,’’ Busch said Monday morning at a breakfast honoring the winning team.
He said his mom’s “nightmare’’ came true two years ago when younger brother Kyle broke his right leg and left foot in a crash during the Xfinity race at Daytona. Kyle Busch missed the first 11 races of the Cup season before going on to win the championship.
“She just always thought that Daytona and Talladega were the toughest on her boys and she just wanted us to come home safe,’’ Kurt Busch said.“When I called her, I felt like I had placed this sword in the stone and said we conquered Daytona. She was crying, so happy that I was safe.’’
Many others were happy for Busch. He said of the more than 500 texts he received, three from one family stood out.
Busch received texts from Mario, Michael and Marco Andretti. Mario Andretti served as grand marshal of Sunday’s Daytona 500, a celebration of his victory in that race 50 years ago.
“That meant the world to me,’’ Busch said.
Busch drove for Michael Andretti’s team in the 2014 Indianapolis 500, finishing sixth and earning rookie of the year honors, and had Marco Andretti as a teammate.
“It was really neat to see the Andrettis reach out from the IndyCar world,’’ Busch said.