Tony Stewart Wins 2007 Bud Shootout at Daytona
Tony Stewart Wins 2007 Bud Shootout at Daytona
Stewart Wins Third Bud Shootout at Daytona - Big Favorite for The 500
Two-time Nextel Cup Champion Tony Stewart started the season off on the right foot by winning the Bud Shootout Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway.
The 70 lap exhibition race is the unofficial start to the NASCAR season and features Bud Pole winners from the previous season as well as previous Bud Shootout winners.
Stewart bested this years 21 car field for his third Bud Shootout victory of his Cup Series career. On the sixty-second lap Stewart got Kyle Busch loose entering turn 1 and as they say the rest is history.
Stewart cruised to the finish with David Gilliland finishing second and Kurt Busch taking third.
Stewart was listed as 5/1 odds to win for Saturday nights race. Bettors who backed Stewart enjoyed a $5 payout for every $1 bet.
A race at Daytona wouldn't be complete without some fireworks. On the final lap of Saturdays event Dale Earnhardt Jr. made contact with Elliot Sadler which caused Sadler to get into the wall and collect Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle and last years winner Denny Hamlin as his car careened back across the track. Luckily no one was injured and the cars used in the Shootout are not the same cars which will be used for the Daytona 500 next week.
Next up is Daytona Bud Pole Qualifying this Sunday at 2pm. This year 61 drivers will be attempting to qualify for the 43 entry positions for the Daytona 500.
Re: Tony Stewart Wins 2007 Bud Shootout at Daytona
Stewart wins Shootout to solidify contender status for Daytona 500
Sat, Feb 10, 2007
By Associated Press
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Tony Stewart drove his way into Victory Lane at Daytona - one week earlier than he hoped for.
Stewart won the exhibition Budweiser Shootout on Saturday night, setting himself up as a top contender to win the season-opening Daytona 500. That's the last of the NASCAR crown jewels that Stewart wants, and he reported to Speedweeks intent on adding it to his resume this year.
Books had Stewart pegged at +500 to take the race on Saturday.
He's off to a good start.
Stewart nudged Kyle Busch out of the lead with eight laps to go, then calmly drove to his third victory in the all-star event when runner-up David Gilliland never challenged.
As Stewart closed in on the finish line, Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran into the back of Elliott Sadler to start a four-car pileup far from the leaders that collected defending race winner Denny Hamlin and Greg Biffle.
Toyota, making its Nextel Cup debut, had two cars in the field as the Japanese automaker made its long-awaited debut. But neither Brian Vickers or Dale Jarrett ever contended for the win.
Jarrett started on the pole in his new Camry, but quickly fell to the back of the field and finished 18th out of 21 cars. Vickers briefly drove his new Team Red Bull Toyota to the front and paced the field for two laps, but faded and wound up eighth.
Stewart, meanwhile, seemed fairly confident he'll be a contender in the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18. Although he's now won 10 times in different events at Daytona - including two wins in the summer Nextel Cup event here - he's only come close to winning the 500 once, finishing second in 2004.
Asked if he can carry anything over from this Shootout to the ''Super Bowl of Racing,'' Stewart didn't flinch.
''Absolutely,'' he said, promising his Chevrolet for the big event would be stout.
''The other one's better, believe it or not,'' he said. ''Everyone says that. Nobody brings their best car to the Shootout.''
Stewart, the two-time Nextel Cup champion, has been on a tremendous roll since missing out on NASCAR's title hunt last September. Despite being shut out of the Chase, he won three of the final 10 races in an outstanding close to an otherwise mediocre season.
Then he took a brief December break before jumping into a sprint car - his first love - and dominating at the grassroots level. He won two January events, including the prestigious Chili Bowl, a sprint race that Stewart treasures as much as he does his NASCAR titles.
It's given Stewart momentum at the start of the 2007 season, and he'll try to carry it for one more week and into the 500.
Busch led six times for a race-high 42 laps and had the race in command when a caution for debris came out with 16 laps to go to set up a quick round of pit stops. Busch went onto the service road as the leader and held the position after taking four tires.
But Kasey Kahne picked up five spots with a two-tire stop that put him in second, followed by Kurt Busch and Stewart.
Earnhardt, who overshot his stall as he entered the pits, came out in 11th place.
Racing resumed with 13 laps to go, and Stewart wasted little time motoring into second place. Then he worked his way onto Kyle Busch's bumper and, with a subtle push at 185 mph, knocked Busch out of the way as he slid into the lead.
''I finally got a chance to really push him hard into (Turn) 1 once, and it got him loose and he went up the track a little bit,'' Stewart said. ''Then when he tucked it down, I caught right there and didn't touch him, but caught him enough.''
But Kyle Busch said Stewart definitely made slight contact with his back bumper.
''He wasn't on me hard, it was just that little bit enough to where I just kept getting loose, kept getting loose and kept chasing it,'' he said. ''And by the time you get so far you're pretty much gone and I was able to keep it. So thankfully for that.''
Kurt Busch finished third and was followed by Nextel Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick.
Jeff Gordon was never a factor, and sealed his last-place finish when his Chevrolet inexplicably lost power early in the second segment and pulled off the track.
''We had some kind of electrical problem going on there, it just kept cutting in and out,'' Gordon said from the garage.
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