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Saturday, February 9
Daytona Int'l Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida
Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrates the Budweiser Shootout victory with his team - his first win since May 2006, in his first race with Hendrick Motorsports...
Earnhardt Jr. Triumphs in Hendrick Debut
By Reid Spencer, Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - (February 9, 2008) - Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.
The "new" was Dale Earnhardt Jr., who on Saturday night won the 30th Budweiser Shootout in his first race in a Hendrick Motorsports car—with new sponsors AMP Energy Drink and National Guard and new car No. 88.
New, too, was the first race at Daytona International Speedway with the winged racecar NASCAR introduced into competition at selected tracks last year.
The "old" was Hendrick's continued dominance of NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, a carryover from 2007, when the sport's most efficient team won 18 of the 36 points races. Earnhardt's teammates, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, finished third and fourth, respectively, behind runner-up Tony Stewart, as Hendrick cars claimed four of the first six positions.
The "borrowed" was Jeff Gordon's car -- and Johnson's, too, for that matter -- short-track backups called into service from after their primary Shootout cars were wrecked in a practice crash Friday night.
Jeff Gordon (24) and Jimmie Johnson (48) were both driving backup cars after wrecking primary cars Friday night; both used COT cars that ran short tracks in 07. Both also seemed to use the first 20-lap segment to shake down the backup cars, as both were forces to be reckoned with in the last 50 laps - finishing third (48) and fourth (24)...
Such was the action with less than two laps to go - just before Johnson (48) gave Jr. (88) the push he needed to get be Stewart (20) for the win...
The "blue" was Johnson's No. 48 cobalt-colored Lowe's Chevrolet, which gave Earnhardt the push to take the lead on a three-lap run to the finish after the fourth caution of the 70-lap non-points event. With a
car not stout enough to go for the victory, Johnson stayed behind Earnhardt and propelled him to the win.
In short, the honeymoon has already started for a Hendrick-Earnhardt marriage made in heaven.
"This is exactly what we needed coming out of the gate," said an elated Earnhardt, who left his family-founded Dale Earnhardt Inc. team to drive for Hendrick. "We've had such a long offseason, and this really made it worth it.
"We had a lot of help at the end from Jimmie. That was half the win. The other half was the car, being able to stay up front there at the end."
Earnhardt, who also won the Shootout in 2003, led 47 of the 70 laps Saturday night and earned the unqualified admiration of Stewart, who was second in laps led with nine.
Dale Jr.'s pit crew were just as good as their driver...
"Dale Earnhardt Jr. is one of the best drivers that's ever been in a restrictor-plate car," Stewart said. "He knows where to be on the racetrack, and he knows when to switch lines.
"I'm happy for him. He drove his butt off and put himself in the right places at the right times."
Reed Sorenson was fifth, followed by Casey Mears, Dave Blaney, Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne.
After a break at 20 laps, the field restarted on Lap 21 with Earnhardt in the lead and Blaney second. On Lap 24, however, Jamie McMurray brought out the second caution of the race when he moved up the track
across the nose of Hamlin's No. 11 Toyota and turned into the wall at the exit of Turn 4.
It didn't take long after a restart on Lap 28 for the Hendrick contingent to move to the front of the pack (pictured right). By Lap 47, the Hendrick cars of Earnhardt, Gordon, Johnson and Mears occupied four of the top five positions.
A lap later, David Gilliland's blown right front tire triggered a wreck that also took out Greg Biffle and Martin Truex Jr. After a restart on Lap 53, Earnhardt and Stewart battled for the lead until Kurt Busch's spin, along with a wreck behind him involving Ryan Newman and J.J. Yeley, brought out the fourth caution and set up the three-lap dash to the finish.
Budweiser Shootout Complete Results - click here
Victory Lane Interview with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Eury Jr., and Rick Hendrick - click here
Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes the checkered flag to win the 2008 Budweiser Shootout...
Checkered Flag Fast Facts
Starting Lineup Selection: Thursday, February 7 (SPEED at 9 p.m./AT)
Practice: Friday, February 8 (SPEED at 5 p.m./AT)
Practice: Friday, February 8 (SPEED at 7:30 p.m./AT)
RaceDay Pre-Race Show: Saturday, February 9 (SPEED at 7 p.m./AT)
Race: Saturday, February 9 (FOX & TSN-HD at 9 p.m./AT)
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, his second victory in the preseason event.
Earnhardt first won the Budweiser Shootout in 2003.
- With 47 laps led, Earnhardt broke the record for laps led in a Budweiser Shootout (previous record was
44 by Greg Biffle in 2005).
- With the win, Earnhardt becomes the seventh driver with multiple Budweiser Shootout wins.
- In eight Budweiser Shootouts, Earnhardt has five top fives and seven top 10s.
- Tony Stewart (second) now has seven top fives and eight top 10s in nine Budweiser Shootouts.
- Jimmie Johnson (third) now has four top fives and six top 10s in six Budweiser Shootouts.
*AT is one hour ahead of ET, i.e. if it's 2 p.m./AT - it's 1 p.m./ET...
Wrecks Rule Final Shootout Practice
The after-effect of the first wreck in the final practice session for the Budweiser Shootout show Jeff Gordon (24), Jimmie Johnson (48),
David Gilliland (38) and Bill Elliott (21)...
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Feb. 8, 2008) - Friday night's final practice session for the Budweiser Shootout saw 11 of the 23
cars entered in the race damaged. Some can be salvaged for Saturday night, some can't - including those of pole-sitter Kurt Busch and defending series
champion Jimmie Johnson. Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman will also be forced to move to backup cars while Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards,
Bill Elliott, David Gilliland, Denny Hamlin and
Tony Stewart will race repaired cars. Clint Bowyer escaped the carnage with minor damage.
Two separate incidents caused the melee, the first a multi-car accident caused when Clint Bowyer got in the back of Ryan Newman.
Newman spun up across oncoming traffic collecting Johnson, Gordon, Elliott and others.
Ryan Newman waits for a tow truck...
The second altercation came just before the close of the session when Stewart got into Busch, causing Busch to hit the outside wall.
Busch retaliated by slamming his racecar into the side of Stewart's as the two travelled back to the pit area. Both driver's were beckoned
to the NASCAR trailer.
What remains unclear is whether the teams that wrecked primary cars will be relegated to the rear of the starting lineup Saturday night.
This would be the "norm" for Sprint Cup - but with the Shootout being a non-points race, the rules are often different. According to
television reports NASCAR was still debating the issue late Friday evening.
Friday First Practice Speed Chart - click here
Friday Final Practice Speed Chart - click here
Some Reactions to the Wrecks
"I think we’re going to see a lot of things like this happening because the drafting is so severe that there is a lot of movement going on out there. It’s going to be exciting. I’ve been saying it’s going to be exciting and I think there is a whole lot of excitement yet to come. But hopefully at the end of the day we can have a great race.”
A FEW YEARS AGO AT THE ALL-STAR RACE AT LOWE’S, YOU CRASHED EARLY AND WENT TO A BACK UP CAR WITH ZERO LAPS OF PRACTICE. CAN YOU WIN IT IN A BACKUP CAR AS YOU DID THAT NIGHT?
“Especially with the new car, the new Impala SS. I mean they are all pretty much identical. We’ll put the same set-up underneath it. There is very little difference between the cars. If we could have won with this car, we can win with a backup car. It’s going to be tough coming from 22nd, but it’s a fairly long race so we’ll see what happens.”
IS THAT ONE OF THE DANGERS OF SOMETHING LIKE THIS WHEN YOU DON’T WANT TO GET THE GOOD CAR INVOLVED?
“Honestly, there is so little difference between the good car and the other car. It’s not like it used to be. You used to find one that was magical and fast and then one that was not. This car, there is very little you can do to it to make it much better. We’ll get one ready, whether it’s that one or another one on the way.”
WAS THAT A LITTLE TOO TIGHT OUT THERE FOR PRACTICE OR WAS THAT NORMAL?
“We’ve got to be in those conditions eventually. I was in the exact position I wanted to be in, in the back trying to get to the front to see what it was going to be like tomorrow night. But I knew there was a risk in that and that (wreck) could happen. And I’m sure it won’t be the last time.”
DALE EARNHARDT JR. (not involved, but close)
"I saw cars spinning everywhere. Looked like the No. 2 was trying to block the No. 20 and Tony tried to go to the high side. It has been a wild practice out there. It is going to be interesting to see how this all unfolds.
"We weren't going to run too much. We liked our car really from the get-go right off the trailer so we weren't going to practice too much. That was a good enough reason to quit right there."
ON WHAT HAPPENED: "It shouldn't have happened. I got underneath him, the No. 41 was pushing me pretty hard and I knew I wasn't trying to push the envelope. I was trying to let off and here he came back down, I was trying to let off. It is just unfortunate for everybody, that is just too bad. My car is fine, it is everybody else. That is practice, it isn't even the race, certainly wasn't trying to do that. I got under him and like I said, I tried to let off and there wasn't any more room."
ON WHAT HAPPENED? “I got turned by the No. 07 car. He crowded me and I didn’t give him a whole lot of room, but it was six laps into practice so I didn’t think it was that big of deal. He just didn’t find the middle pedal when he needed to.”
“When you walk away from something like that you have to smile. It’s just wrong place, wrong time you know. Clint (Bowyer) stuck his nose underneath me and it was either turn right going into the corner if he would have gotten outside of me or count on him checking up. He said he checked up; it just wasn’t enough. He didn’t mean to turn me around, but that’s kind of the way if happened.”
“I asked him (Bowyer). I said ‘just tell me you version’. It’s part of what happens at this type of race tracks. You know everybody is trying to make these cars stick. That really wasn’t a bad part of it, but it’s unfortunate.”
DO YOU HAVE A BACKUP CAR HERE? “We have one on the way.”
Three-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Jarrett prepares for his final start in the event...[Click here] to read an interview with Jarrett...
Kurt Busch Draws Budweiser Shootout Pole
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 7, 2008) – Kurt Busch drew the lucky flag out of the Budweiser bottle to earn the Budweiser Shootout pole position during Thursday night’s draw party at the SPEED Stage located just outside of Daytona International Speedway.
Busch, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge for Penske Racing, will be making his fifth career start in Saturday’s Budweiser Shootout, a non-points All-Star race that features the previous season’s pole winners and past Budweiser Shootout winners.
The Budweiser Shootout will feature a record field of 23 drivers battling at DIS for the first time in NASCAR’s new winged car (formerly known as the Car of Tomorrow).
“I think it’s going to be an interesting race,” Busch said. “I’m glad to be a part of it because you get to run with a tight group of competiton. These guys are tough and you get to learn with this new car.
“Who knows? I mean I could be 23rd on the first lap just because of how violent the draft could be with the car. We’ve had packs of eight, maybe 10, but now we’ve got 23 that are going to hold it to the floor so we’ll see what happens.”
Busch is geared up about the extra track time during DIRECTV Speedweeks.
“I think it’s great,” Busch said. “To come up with a unique way to start the season and to knock the rust off and to get out there before the rest of the field, there are only 23 of us that get the special treatment. You got to soak it up while you can.
“I’ve been out of it a few years and you do miss a lot of track time. It’s good to get out there first and get some homework knocked out.”
Pulling the outside pole is Mark Martin, who is driving the No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc. Rounding out the top five were Michael Waltrip, Jamie McMurray and David Gilliland.
American rock band Sister Hazel will perform three pre-race songs, the National Anthem as well as a 60-minute post-race concert from the Entertainment Stage next to the Budweiser Bistro in the Sprint FANZONE.
The 45th annual ARCA 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series at Daytona will kick off the day of racing at 4:15 p.m. The 2007 ARCA 200 winner Bobby Gerhart will be gunning for his record fifth win against a stout field that includes 2007 Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti and former Formula One driver Scott Speed.
30th Annual Budweiser Shootout Starting Lineup
1. Kurt Busch, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge
2. Mark Martin, No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet
3. Michael Waltrip, No. 55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
4. Jamie McMurray, No. 26 Crown Royal/Cask No. 16 Ford
5. David Gilliland, No. 38 freecreditreport.com Ford
6. Reed Sorenson, No. 41 Target/Polaroid Dodge
7. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard/Mountain Dew/AMP Energy Chevrolet
8. Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge
9. Martin Truex, Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet
10. Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota
11. J.J. Yeley, No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota
12. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota
13. Ken Schrader, No. 49 Qtrax.com Dodge
14. Bill Elliott, No. 21 Air Force Ford
15. Dale Jarrett, No. 44 UPS Toyota
16. Casey Mears, No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet
17. Greg Biffle, No. 16 3M Ford
18. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet
19. Dave Blaney, No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota
20. Carl Edwards, No. 99 Office Depot
21. Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet
22. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet
23. Ryan Newman, No. 12 alltel Dodge
Green Flag Fast Facts
What: 30th annual Budweiser Shootout At Daytona (non points race)
Where: Daytona International Speedway
Track Layout: 2.5-mile tri-oval.
When: Saturday, Feb. 9
Race Start Time: 9:30 p.m./AT, 8:30 p.m./ET
TV Start Time: FOX, 9 p.m./AT, 8 p.m./ET
Radio: MRN; SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Channel 128
Distance: 70 laps/175 miles (20 laps in first segment; 50 laps in second segment).
2007 Winner: Tony Stewart
Drivers: Greg Biffle, Dave Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Bill Elliott, David Gilliland, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Dale Jarrett, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears, Ryan Newman, Ken Schrader, Reed Sorenson, Tony Stewart, Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip and J.J. Yeley.
Event Stats PDF files unless otherwise noted
Budweiser Shootout - Pre-Race Pit Stops
After weeks of preseason testing, 23 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will take their first green flag of 2008 Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway.
Gone are testing’s anonymous gray paint jobs and recycled uniforms.
Here, at last, is competition – the 30th annual Budweiser Shootout – the non-points event that kicks off the season, revving both engines and anticipation.
For participants, it marks the first NASCAR race in nearly three months.
“It’s a fun race to be in,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Mountain Dew AMP/National Guard Chevrolet), the 2003 Budweiser Shootout victor. “Most drivers can’t wait to see some action from the off-season.”
Both precursor and reward, the race warms up fans and competitors for the season-opening Daytona 500, set for Feb. 17. It is open to the past season’s pole winners, along with former Budweiser Shootout winners who finished in the top 50 of the final 2007 NASCAR Sprint Cup standings.
That exclusivity – always significant – broadens in importance this season.
Series teams not only will prepare for the 50th Daytona 500, but also their first fulltime season with NASCAR’s new car – the now-generation race car. The golden-anniversary Daytona 500 marks the first new-car event at Daytona, and for 23 teams, Saturday night is an opportunity to research race conditions.
The Budweiser Shootout began in 1979 and has yielded 17 different winners through 29 events. Former NASCAR great Buddy Baker won the first one; two-time series champion Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Toyota) is the defending winner.
Stewart is the last driver to win consecutive Budweiser Shootouts (2001-02). Two others have also done it: Ken Schrader (No. 49 QTRAX.com Dodge) in 1989-90 and Neil Bonnett in 1983-84.
The current record for victories was established by Dale Earnhardt, who won the race six times. Tied for second all-time, with three victories each, are Stewart and Dale Jarrett (No. 44 UPS Toyota). Jarrett, who will retire after the season’s fifth points event at Martinsville, is competing in his final Budweiser Shootout.
Another veteran, Mark Martin (No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet), is scheduled to compete in his event-record 20th consecutive Budweiser Shootout, and 21st overall.
“I think I may have been in all 30 of them, or at least it feels that way sometimes,” said Martin, who won the race in 1999.
Although the Budweiser Shootout format has varied since its 1979 debut, the current format has been used since 2003. It begins with a 20-lap segment followed by a 50-lap “shootout” for the win.
A 10-minute “pit stop”, when crews may make normal adjustments to their cars, separates the two segments.
First run as a 20-lap sprint in 1979, the event has evolved into a prime-time event that kicks off nearly two weeks of competition leading up to the Daytona 500 and the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series’ season-openers.
Drivers earn berths by winning a pole during the previous season, or being a former, active Shootout winner who finished in the top 50 of the previous season’s NASCAR Sprint Cup standings.
This year’s field includes 18 pole winners from 2007 and five former Budweiser Shootout winners.
The starting lineup will be determined during Thursday’s draw party, which begins at 7 p.m., on SPEED Channel’s Turn Four stage at Daytona International Speedway.
The 2008 field includes seven former Daytona 500 champions – including a pair of three-time winners in Dale Jarrett and Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet), two-time winners Bill Elliott (No. 21 U.S. Air Force Ford) and Michael Waltrip (No. 55 NAPA Toyota) and 2003 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. and 2006 winner Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet), also the reigning and two-time series champion.
Jarrett, Martin, Elliott, Stewart and Schrader are the former Budweiser Shootout champions eligible for Saturday’s race by virtue of their finish in the ’07 standings.
First-time pole winners in ‘07 – and, as a result, first-time Budweiser Shootout participants – are Clint Bowyer (No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet), Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Target Dodge), Martin Truex Jr. (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) and J.J. Yeley (No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota).
Other 2007 pole winners in the field: Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford), Dave Blaney (No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota), Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge), Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford), David Gilliland (No. 38 Yates Racing Ford), Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Toyota), Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge), Jamie McMurray (No. 26 Crown Royal-Cask No. 16 Ford), Casey Mears (No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet), Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge) – plus, Earnhardt, Gordon, Johnson and Waltrip.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup garage at Daytona opens from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Thursday, for inspection of Budweiser Shootout cars. That’s followed by the traditional draw party at 7 p.m., which determines the starting lineup. On Friday, teams will practice twice – from 4:15-5 p.m., with final practice from 6:30-7:30.
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