Stewart Finishes Second in Shootout
Mobil 1/Office Depot Driver Edged At Line in Non-Points Race
Kyle Busch edged Tony Stewart by a hair to win Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The margin of victory was .013 of a second, and it came in a two-wide dash that produced the closest finish in Shootout history.
“You can’t be too unsatisfied with second place, especially considering where this car was yesterday,” said Stewart, referring to the fact his No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet Impala had to be rebuilt after a crash 30 minutes into Friday’s opening practice. “It’s the same car we crashed yesterday, and we almost won the race with it today. I’m really proud of everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing. They got it back together.”
Stewart led once for seven laps in the 82-lap race around the 2.5-mile oval, taking the lead from Busch on Lap 74 and holding it through a green-white-checkered restart on Lap 81. But Busch, who made two outstanding saves of his racecar earlier in the non-points race, would not be denied as he and Stewart roared to the checkered flag off Turn 4.
Busch ducked out from behind three-time and reigning Sprint Cup champion Stewart as the two entered the tri-oval with Stewart in the lead. Using the high side of the track, Busch nipped Stewart at the line to take his first Budweiser Shootout victory.
“I knew once Kyle and I got free that we were going to have to do something between Turn 4 and the start-finish line,” said Stewart, who won the Budweiser Shootout in 2001, 2002 and 2007. “When we got there, it was like, ‘Well, we’re going to run first or second here.’ So I knew we had enough of a gap that it was going to be a race between the two of us. It was a matter of when he was going to make his move off of (Turn) 4. I saw it coming. I thought I gave myself enough room to get away from him, but I didn’t. Guess I’ll have to work harder on it this week and see if we got something for them on Sunday.”
The result was Stewart’s second runner-up finish in the Budweiser Shootout (the other came in 2008) and his 11th top-10 finish in 13 career Budweiser Shootout starts.
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 WIX Filters Chevrolet Impala for Stewart-Haas Racing, finished seventh.
Stewart’s spot was secured by way of his three Budweiser Shootout wins and three Coke Zero 400 victories (2005, 2006 and 2009).
This year’s field included 25 drivers but was decimated by a string of multi-car accidents that left only 13 cars running at the end of the race.
Finishing third behind Busch and Stewart was Marcos Ambrose. Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five, while Greg Biffle, Newman, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards and Juan Pablo Montoya comprised the remainder of the top 10.