Kurt Busch wins fast, wild Budweiser Shootout at Daytona|
Daytona Beach, FL (Sports Network - If Saturday's Budweiser Shootout is any
indication of what's to happen on the newly-paved Daytona International
Speedway during the next eight days, it should be a very wild time.
With speeds reaching more than 200 m.p.h. throughout the 75-lap non-points
paying race, Kurt Busch got some assistance from defending Daytona 500
champion Jamie McMurray and received a lot more help from NASCAR to win his
first NASCAR race at Daytona.
Denny Hamlin appeared to have crossed the finish line first, but just before
crossing the line, Hamlin drove underneath then-leader Ryan Newman and passed
him below the out-of-bounds line. NASCAR prohibits passing for position below
the yellow line at its restrictor-plate tracks (Daytona and Talladega
NASCAR credited Busch with the win after he got a friendly push from McMurray
on the outside lane of Daytona's frontstretch.
"It's unbelievable," said Busch, who won his first restrictor-plate track
event. "To experience victory lane here no matter what the race is, it's very
Busch switched from the No.2 to the No.22 Dodge at Penske Racing and acquired
new sponsor Shell/Pennzoil for the 2011 Sprint Cup season. Busch, his
teammate, Brad Keselowski, and Robby Gordon are the only drivers in Dodges
this year. Gordon, also a team owner, announced his partnership with the
American auto manufacturer earlier this week.
"We know that we're out-numbered by the competition," Busch added.
McMurray pulled ahead of Newman to finish second, while Newman took the third
"I had a really good time tonight," McMurray said. "I wish that I could have
pushed a Chevrolet to the front, but Kurt and I are really good friends away
from the racetrack."
Jimmie Johnson, the five-time Sprint Cup Series champion, and Greg Biffle
rounded out the top-five.
Hamlin wound up finishing 12th after his penalty, which placed him at the tail
end of the lead lap.
"That yellow line is there to protect us and the fans in the grandstands,"
Hamlin said. "I just chose to take the safer route. Winning the Shootout is
not worth sending [Newman] through the grandstands, and as fast as we were
running, his car would have gone airborne if I got into his left rear."
Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, winner of the last two preseason races at Daytona,
Jeff Burton, who led the most laps with 32, Clint Bowyer and Bobby Labonte
were sixth through 10th, respectively.
The race featured a record 28 lead changes among nine drivers. Three caution
flags waved for accidents, including a six-car incident which involved Dale
Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards and Juan Pablo Montoya on lap 28.
"It was fun, and the racing might have looked kind of crazy tonight,"
Earnhardt Jr. said. "It was a different style of racing for sure, and I was
Earlier in the day, NASCAR required teams to remove certain air hoses to cool
the engines in an attempt to lower speeds and break up the two-car breakaways.
No changes were made to the size of the restrictor plates, which lowers
horsepower in the engines and therefore reduces the cars' speeds.
Ten drivers posted speeds over the 200-mile mark during Friday's final
practice session for the Budweiser Shootout.
NASCAR will continue to monitor the speeds at Daytona and make any necessary
modifications to the restrictor plates.
Forty-nine teams are scheduled to qualify for the February 20 Daytona 500 on
Sunday at 1:00 p.m. (et).
02/13 13:10:26 ET