DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 7, 2009) – Kevin Harvick and his No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet team fought their way from the back of the field to capture the win in a green-white-checkered finish in the 31st annual Budweiser Shootout at historic Daytona International Speedway Saturday night.
Harvick, the 2007 Daytona 500 champion, brushed his Chevrolet against the wall in the first segment, battled an ill-handling car throughout the race and almost lost the draft multiple times. His crew was able to make adjustments and put Harvick in a position to win the race in the closing laps.
“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.
“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.”
Fans witnessed an exciting, record-breaking night – a record number of cars starting the race (28), a record number of leaders (14), a record number of lead changes (23) and a record number of cautions (8).
Second-place finisher Jamie McMurray kept his No. 26 Crown Royal Ford near the front for most of the race and had the lead on the final restart. Harvick was able to catch and pass McMurray in Turn 3, and with a wreck happening behind them, was awarded the win.
“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.”
Tony Stewart rounded out the Top 3, running his first race as a driver/owner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in the No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet.
“I had a blast tonight,” Stewart said. “I don’t know if we had the fastest car, but we had one of the best-handling cars. We could put this thing anywhere on the race track we wanted to go tonight.”
Logano, who pulled double-duty Saturday night at DIS, finished second in the 46th annual Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series – his first race on the high banks of Daytona. In the Budweiser Shootout, he was caught up in the first caution of the night on the fifth lap and finished the race in last position.
Country music star Dierks Bentley, whose album “Feel That Fire” was released this past Tuesday, performed a pre-race concert on the football field and a post-race concert on the Sprint FANZONE Entertainment Stage.
Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona
James Buescher held off NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie driver Joey Logano to win the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series race Saturday night.
“It definitely means a lot,” Buescher said. “Daytona is on the top of everyone’s list, and it’s definitely on top of mine.”
Buescher’s No. 32 Wolfpack Rentals Toyota held the lead when the lone red flag of the night came out with five laps to go. Buescher remained in front on the restart and was able to hold off Logano’s late push to pull out the win.
“I knew Joey was going to try and get me down in Turn 3,” Buescher said. “I just told my spotter not to be quiet the entire last lap. He didn’t, and he let me know when he (Logano) was coming; I went up on the track and blocked him, and he didn’t get another run.”
Justin Lofton, driver of the No. 6 Lofton Cattle Toyota finished in 3rd place. He had earned the pole position for the 2009 Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 earlier in the week.
Daytona Beach-native and Atlantic High-graduate Alli Owens was involved in one of the first multiple-car accidents of the race but did not finish after earning the outside pole.
Supercross legend and No. 33 Monster Energy Chevrolet driver Ricky Carmichael finished 21st after being involved in a multi-car accident early in the race.
Tickets for DIRECTV Speedweeks 2009 and next weekend’s 51st annual Daytona 500 are still available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.