Tony Stewart kicked off the 2007 NASCAR season by taking the checkered flag under the lights in the 29th annual Budweiser Shootout - his 10th win overall at the Daytona International Speedway.
Stewart slipped past Kyle Busch on Lap 63 and then held off the surprising David Gilliland and third-place finisher Kurt Busch to win the All-Star non-points event that features the previous season's pole winners and past Budweiser Shootout champions.
"We were really good," said Stewart, driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet. "Speed-wise, we're unbelievable."
With only eight laps to go, Stewart got Kyle Busch loose and took the lead.
"Kyle did an awesome job," Stewart said. "I don't know how many guys could have saved that car&he did an awesome job of catching it."
Gilliland, entering his first full season in NEXTEL Cup and making his first Shootout appearance, felt like he earned some respect in the Budweiser Shootout that will help him through the remaining races at Daytona.
"It felt really good," Gilliland said. "You know, our main deal going into tonight was just to get some experience and try and earn some respect running with these guys. I feel like we accomplished that&we made some friends out there."
Hendrick Motorsports' Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, started in the 11th position, but suffered mechanical problems after 31 laps and finished 21st. Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge, also made an early exit with mechanical problems and finished 20th.
Toyota made their first appearance in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series with Brian Vickers and Dale Jarrett. Vickers finished eighth in the No. 83 Toyota while Jarrett in the No. 44 Toyota finished 18th.
Tickets for any of the DIRECTV Speedweeks at Daytona events are available online at http://www.racetickets.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.