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Kevin Harvick Wins One Wild Budweiser Shootout

by Pete McCole
Sunday, February 08, 2009

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Kevin Harvick celebrates
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. -- Kevin Harvick survived a wild, crash-filled race to win Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway, notching his first career victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup pre-season event in one of the most thrilling races in the 30-year history of the Budweiser Shootout. .

After brushing the wall early in the race, Harvick drove his no. 29 Pennzoil Chevrolet from the back of the pack to pass Jamie McMurray on the final lap just moments before several of the front-runners were swept up into yet another multi-car wreck which ended the race under the eighth caution flag of the night.

The victory was the first for Harvick since the 2007 All Star race and his first victory at Daytona since winning the 2007 Daytona 500.

“I got a little bit behind there early,” Harvick said. “I lost the draft. I just came back up through there, and I was thinking, 'We won a Daytona 500 the exact same way.' We just never gave up.

Kevin Harvick takes the caution and the checkered flags
“It just seemed like I was in the wrong spot for the whole race and then there at the end wound up being in all the right places at the right time and had a good car to go with it.”

Tony Stewart finished third in his debut as a driver/owner, followed by Jeff Gordon and A.J. Allmendinger.

Saturday night’s race saw a record number of leaders, lead changes and a record starting field of 28 cars, which were quickly whittled down to just 13 finishers after an event-record eight caution flags.

The sheet metal started flying early on as the first multi-car melee broke out just three laps into the event, collecting Dave Ragan, Scott Speed, Robby Gordon and rookie Joey Logano, making his debut in the no. 20 Home Depot Toyota.

After hitting the wall on lap 13, Harvick hung around at the back of the pack, seeming to never really have the car to keep up with the draft, ending up finishing a lap down and dead-last 24th after the first 25-lap segment.

After spending for than half of the second 50-lap segment at the rear of the field and weaving his way through several wrecks – many times by diving onto the apron of the track – Harvick made his way back up to mid-pack, restarting 13th after a caution flag with 12 laps to go.

Getting a big push from Jeff Gordon, Harvick fought his way up into the top five before the caution waved again with three laps left, setting up a three-lap showdown with McMurray up front, followed by Jeff Gordon, Johnson, Harvick and Kyle Busch.

Running in the middle on the final lap, Harvick split the cars of Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin to move into second before powering past the leader as McMurray weaved across the track to block.

Just seconds after getting past McMurray, Johnson and Casey Mears tangled, setting off a crash that also collected Hamlin, Busch and Brian Vickers while Gordon and Allmendinger managed to dodge the wreck as the yellow flag waved to end the race.

“I knew we had one shot,” Harvick said of his three-wide pass. “I told them on the radio.  I said, ‘we got one shot to win the race, and that's probably going to be up the middle’. Then the 11 (Hamlin) gave me one final shot down the backstretch and we were able to get by the 26 (McMurray).”

“It's got to be one of the most exciting ones for the Budweiser Shootout,” said Harvick’s car owner Richard Childress. “For the fans, the price of admission tonight was well worth it.”

It was a disappointing finish for McMurray, who won his second career race at this track in July of 2007, and came up just half-a-lap short on Saturday.

“It will be a long night,” McMurray said. “I'll think about what I should have done differently as I go to sleep tonight. I moved up to block Kevin and when I did I didn't go all the way up against the wall. I thought I was far enough up against the wall that he couldn't fit.”

“His car just fit through there.  I wouldn't have bet it would have.”

It was also a disappointing way to end the day for Logano, after posting a runner-up finish in the earlier accident-marred ARCA RE/MAX Series race.

That event also went to overtime, causing Logano to be penalized to the rear of the field for the Budweiser Shootout for missing the mandatory Sprint Cup driver’s meeting. After just three laps, Logano got tagged trying to avoid the spinning racecar of Scott Speed and ended up pounding the outside wall, ending his night.

“It sucks - it’s too early,” said Logano. “Nowhere to go in that situation. I didn’t get to learn much at all with only five or six laps into it. You start in the back and that’s kind of what happens.”

Results

FIN

ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 27 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil PE 78 Running
2 15 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal PE 78 Running
3 6 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Old Spice / Office Depot PE 78 Running
4 28 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont PE 78 Running
5 18 44 A.J. Allmendinger Dodge Valvoline PE 78 Running
6 14 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser PE 78 Running
7 11 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac PE 78 Running
8 25 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Dewalt PE 78 Running
9 12 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite PE 78 Running
10 10 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's PE 78 Running
11 7 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull PE 78 Running
12 1 98 Paul Menard Ford Quaker State / Menards PE 78 Running
13 5 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express PE 78 Running
14 21 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's PE 77 Running
15 24 07 Casey Mears Chevrolet Jack Daniel's PE 77 Running
16 20 12 David Stremme Dodge Penske Racing PE 73 Running
17 26 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M PE 72 Running
18 9 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / Amp Energy PE 64 Running
19 8 96 Bobby Labonte Ford Ask.com PE 63 Running
20 22 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine PE 56 In Pit
21 2 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Stanley PE 54 In Pit
22 17 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA PE 43 In Pit
23 3 43 Reed Sorenson Dodge McDonald's PE 36 Out of Race
24 23 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar PE 32 In Pit
25 4 82 Scott Speed * Toyota Red Bull PE 4 In Pit
26 16 6 David Ragan Ford UPS PE 3 Running
27 13 7 Robby Gordon Dodge Jim Beam PE 3 In Pit
28 19 20 Joey Logano * Toyota The Home Depot PE 3 Running

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