Johnson wins his first Shootout in Daytona

The No. 48 team of Jimmie Johnson didn't loose any steam in the off season. They grabbed the lead of the Budweiser Shootout after a lightning fast pit stop in the second segment and he never let it go. Johnson led the last 16 laps to earn his...

The No. 48 team of Jimmie Johnson didn't loose any steam in the off season. They grabbed the lead of the Budweiser Shootout after a lightning fast pit stop in the second segment and he never let it go. Johnson led the last 16 laps to earn his first Shootout win in his third attempt.

"Too bad it's not the 500," Johnson said. "But we'll see if we can't come back and do that on Sunday. To start the season this way, it's awesome."

Johnson was the season-high race winner last year, and the No. 48 team clearly is banking on that momentum. The early victory in Speedweeks positions him well for NASCAR's biggest race.

"That pit stop meant everything," said Johnson. "Whoever came out first was going to win the race.

Ryan Newman made a valiant effort to pass the No. 48 but just didn't have the horsepower. He settled for second.

"It was definitely eventful but I was happy to see everyone stay going in the right direction," said Newman. "It was a good night for us and a great beginning to Speedweeks.

"Not satisfied with second but glad to have our best finish here in a stock car."

Jeff Gordon was third.

"I thought we could stay right there together and try and make a run on him on the last lap but we just couldn't stay there," said Gordon. "Those guys were coming. I wanted to be 1-2 but we came up a little bit short."

Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle complete the top five.

"I thought everyone had a good night," said Stewart. "No one had any huge things anymore. It was a good clean race."

Dale Jarrett led the field to the green flag for the 27th running of the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway but have the catbird seat for long. Biffle with drafting help from Tony Stewart powered past Jarrett on the first lap.

Biffle led 19 of the first 20 laps. Geoffrey Bodine pulled the No. 93 Chevy behind the wall after the first segment with mechanical issues. He wasn't the only one.

The ten minute intermission between segments allowed the cars of Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to make repairs to their injured race cars. Martin's No. 6 Ford experienced a vibration due to a faulty tire. Earnhardt's team also had the hood up on the No. 8 Chevy.

Earnhardt's engine kept misfiring as he tried to move up the pack, and he lost power twice but was able to re-fire the car. The mechanical issues mired Earnhardt in 18th place for the initial segment.

It's been a rough start for the No. 8 team in defending their 2004 Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt's transmission was confiscated Friday for not meeting NASCAR's new gear rule. That sent the No. 8 car to the rear of the field for the Shootout and may result in a fine after Speedweeks ends.

Both teams were able to restart as Biffle continued to lead when the second fifty lap segment got underway. Biffle continued to lead as Earnhardt started to slice his way through the field. In 11 laps, he powered his ride to the fourth place but was only able to earn a seventh place result overall.

Under the rules of the Shootout all teams must make one pit stop during the last segment. Biffle and most of the pack came down pit road for service at lap 46 four wide past the commitment line. Brian Vickers had to dash into the grass to avoid hitting the No.12 Dodge of Newman.

Bobby Labonte was too fast entering pit lane and accessed a stop-and-go penalty. Vickers also got penalized for how he entered pit road. But, it didn't matter.

He broke the axle on the No. 25 Chevy.

After all the pit stops were said and done Johnson grabbed the lead of the event with Biffle tight on his tail. Biffle made a concerted effort to catch Johnson but with six to go, Johnson's teammate Jeff Gordon got around Biffle for second.

But Biffle would not be denied.

Biffle made a bold move and managed to squeak his race car back into the second slot. The No. 12 Dodge of Newman, on two fresh tires, also rocketed forward challenging Biffle for the spot.

Newman eventually got it and without a drafting partner Biffle began to slide backward. Johnson ran virtually unchallenged to the checkered flag to score the win in the first event of the 2005 season.

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Geoffrey Bodine , Greg Biffle , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Brian Vickers