Stewart Soars To Second Straight Win In Budweiser Shootout At Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 10, 2002) - Tony Stewart made it two-in-a-row in the Budweiser Shootout, outlasting Dale Earnhardt Jr. and company to capture the 70-lap non-points...
Stewart Soars To Second Straight Win In Budweiser Shootout At Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 10, 2002) - Tony Stewart made it two-in-a-row in the Budweiser Shootout, outlasting Dale Earnhardt Jr. and company to capture the 70-lap non-points event that helps jumpstart the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season.
Last year, Stewart held off the late Dale Earnhardt for the victory. This year, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet was all over his bumper, but Stewart managed to keep the No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac in front for his second straight win in the race that features last year's pole winners and previous Budweiser Shootout champions.
"Awesome race," Stewart said. "I like habits. I got a lot of bad ones I need to break, but this ain't one of them. We had a good car. We knew from the first practice that we ran on Friday we had a good race car. It was just a matter of getting it to the front."
Stewart led a five?car breakaway in the second half of the race with Earnhardt Jr., Sterling Marlin, Ken Schrader and Gordon. In the waning laps, Gordon was able to jump from fifth to third and on the final lap, he got along side Earnhardt Jr. for second.
Earnhardt Jr., the 2001 Pepsi 400 champion, nipped Gordon at the start/finish line while Stewart posted a margin of victory of .172 second margin of victory.
"I would have sworn that car behind me was black and had a '3' on it because Dale Junior may have 'Jr.' behind his name, but he drives like Dale Sr.," Stewart said. "He's got all the talent in the world; he's got all the talent that 'Sr.' had. It was an honor to run with him."
Said Earnhardt Jr.: "With this aero package, you can actually trail brake - use a little bit of brake to slow your car down so it gets the guy behind you right up behind you and then the leader will lose all his steam without you pushing him. And you can get a run on him and make the pass. But when I would let off, Tony would let off. I knew it was going to be a stroke of genius to get by him."
Gordon, the reigning 2001 Winston Cup champion, was aware of the chess game going on between Stewart and Earnhardt Jr. and tried to capitalize on it as he moved from fifth to third.
"Tony is a smart racer," Gordon said. "Jr. knows exactly what he's doing out there. Jr. was trying to figure out his move and Tony was playing chess with him. He tried to block every move. When Jr. would back up to try get a bigger run, it kept stacking those guys up behind him. I was the last car in line and all I had to do was step out of line one time."
Stewart pockets $200,000 for his victory in the caution-free race. There were six lead changes among six drivers and the average speed of the race was 181.295 mph.
Monday's agenda at the Speedway will include second?-ound Winston Cup qualifying, True Value IROC practice and the first on-track activity for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Tickets for Speedweeks events are still available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.