Kevin Harvick, who'd been held out of practice for the Budweiser Shootout due to illness, made his frist competitive laps of 2010 count with his second victory in the season-opening speciality race.
Courtesy: NASCAR Media Relations
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA.
- The Budweiser Shootout has the proper name.... a Shootout....
anybody's race.... A no-holds-barred, fistfight with stock cars.....
NASCAR stock cars.
Whoowee.... What a race! And what a finish.
After a caution fell with just six laps remaining, the second of the race for Michael Waltrip, who was turned sideways by Ryan Newman, the stage was set for a spectacular finish and America's best professional race drivers didn't disappoint a huge crowd.
Kevin Harvick, sidelined with the flu for a week leading up to Saturday night's race at Daytona International Speedway, won the race, taking the lead with just two laps remaining.
The race actually ended under caution when Greg Biffle's car had a flat tire to trigger an eight-car pileup behind winner Harvick, runner-up Kasey Kahne and third-place finisher Jamie McMurray.
Just before the race, Harvick, who had never run a lap in his car before strapping in for the race, told a national FOX network television audience, "I'll earn my paycheck tonight."
And that he did. Harvick ran in front or close to it the entire final 50 laps of the 75-lap race and held off some stirring challenges by Tony Stewart and McMurray, as well as a pack of other snarling drivers, who bumped and banged each other all night. The night might have been a chilly one but the action was hot and heated.
Carl Edwards appeared to be the car to beat, dominating the first 25 laps, but he was shuffled out of line with about 30 laps to go and was eventually involved in the crash at the end.
The win for Harvick and his Shell-sponsored Richard Childress Chevrolet team was his second in as many years and was worth $200,000.
Rounding out the top 10 behind Harvick, Kahne and McMurray were Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano, Brian Vickers, Stewart and Montoya.
Pole-sitter Edwards led the first lap of the 25-lap opening segment with Vickers on his bumper in the Red Bull Toyota.
After just a few laps, the cars were bunched like bananas as they darted and diced around the bumpy, two-and-a-half mile, high-banked, tri-oval.
Edwards continued to lead after 10 laps with Harvick running second and Stewart third. Trailing that trio was Jimmie Johnson, Kahne, Biffle, Vickers, McMurray, Earnhardt Jr. and Kenseth.
Johnson, who started 16th, slipped silently forward as he has done so often during the past four seasons when he captured the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship an unprecedented four years in a row.
At 20 laps, Stewart was challenging Edwards with a push from Kahne. Meanwhile, Harvick was shoving Edwards as the four cars battled lap after lap, side by side, inches apart.
The racing was unbelievable with the biggest carburetor restrictor plate since ol’ D.W. (Darrell Waltrip) won the Daytona 500 in 1989.
By the time they reached the 25-lap intermission point, when Michael Waltrip brought out the night's first caution with a spin out of Turn 2, it was Edwards still in front with Stewart a close second. Kahne was next followed by McMurray, Harvick, Vickers, Johnson, Biffle, Burton and Gordon.
Although it wasn't easy, Edwards was the official leader of every one of the first 25 laps. Stewart actually challenged Edwards just about every lap towards the end of the first segment, but Edwards held him off at the start/finish line where official lead changes are recorded.