2008 Bud Shootout Review
by Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com
With such destruction on the racetrack during practice on Friday, we
were all expecting to see a lot more carnage than we actually did on
Saturday night. Don’t get me wrong, though. It was a great race. From
Johnson and Gordon running short track backup cars to Tony Stewart
managing to keep his temper in line, the boys on the track gave everyone
a great preview to the Daytona 500.
I think that while there was little to be said about wrecks during the Shootout, the 500 will prove that pattern as non-existent in a full
field in a very long race. There were a total of 6 involved in
accidents during the Shootout including Greg Biffle, Martin Truex Jr.,
David Gilliland, Jamie McMurray, and Bill Elliot. The rest of the field
switched up quite a bit, but it was quite evident that there was one
group of cars running and competing, unlike the two to three groups that
we typically see at these restrictor plate tracks.
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Despite the stragglers at the beginning of the race, including Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, the main group of cars was at least 18 strong
at all times out of a 23 car field. That’s not too shabby. I think
this statistic speaks a world of good about the COT. It shows that the
cars are capable of running on a super speedway without slowing down.
In fact, the qualifying times are breaking records from the regular car
of last season. The COT also seems to be safer, with the wrecks that
occurred resembling little of the destruction that we usually see in the
“big one” during any given super speedway race. The cars also handled a
lot differently in the opinion of virtually all drivers. But this is
not necessarily a bad thing. Although some questioned the ability of
the back end of the car to stick to the track, it was clear from the
shootout that the car stuck just fine and definitely did not have as
many safety concerns as the previous cars.
The Shootout was not a knock-out-drag-down fight like some were expecting, especially after the problems between Busch and Stewart
during practice, but it was none less exciting. Jr. definitely had a
good car from the beginning. Once he made a cross-over move on Michael
Waltrip to take the lead, few could deny that Jr. would at least contend
for the win in the last segment. Towards the closing laps of the race,
Gordon and Johnson surprisingly made a run toward the front, coming from
a consistent 18th and 19th throughout much of the race, to be contenders
for the win. But few could stop Jr. from getting his first win in
nearly two years. Many fought for it, including Stewart, who kept
attempting to drop down on the low side to pass Jr., but to no avail.
Jr. blocked anyone and everyone attempting to take his win away.
Whether someone had a better car or more talent didn’t matter. Jr.
showed that he had the power of Hendrick and the talent of his father to
make it to the line when it mattered most.
The results of the Shootout are as follows:
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2. Tony Stewart
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Jeff Gordon
5. Reed Sorenson
6. Casey Mears
7. Dave Blaney
8. Mark Martin
9. Denny Hamlin
10. Kasey Kahne
11. Michael Waltrip
12. Carl Edwards
13. Dale Jarrett
14. Clint Bowyer
15. Ken Schrader
16. J.J. Yeley
17. Ryan Newman
18. Kurt Busch
19. David Gilliland
20. Greg Biffle
21. Martin Truex Jr.
22. Jamie McMurray
23. Bill Elliot
I would say that we need to keep an eye on ALL Hendrick drivers as usual
as four of the top six spots go to the four drivers of Hendrick.
Michael Waltrip is also one to watch here at Daytona. He always does
well at this track and has proven that he has a good setup by qualifying
second yesterday. Tony Stewart always has a good shot, but it’s more or
less a battle of staying out of trouble for him. Stay tuned for a
preview of the Great American Race. It’s sure to be a great one here on