DJ 18th in the Budweiser Shootout by Kellyanne Lynch
10 February 2007
Dale Jarrett's #44 UPS Camry finished 18th in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. His Michael Waltrip Racing entry lingered at the back of the pack throughout tonight's non-points race.
Dale drew the pole, becoming the first Toyota driver to start from the first spot in a Nextel Cup race. In first and second practices, he had ranked 11th and 15th with a 48.123-second lap (187.021 MPH) and a 48.298-second lap (186.343 MPH) respectively. He led the field to the green flag at 8:27pm ET. The track temperature was sixty degrees at the time, with the air temperature just one degree below that.
The team owner's brother, FOX commentator Darrell Waltrip spoke with Dale over the radio during the pace laps and asked him about drawing the pole. "It's a good place for our car to start to see what we can do out front," Dale replied. He said that he hoped he can stay there and noted that it was a competitive field, but he thinks he will do fine. "I'm going to see if I can hold it wide open."
The race started at 8:39pm. The top line moved faster, and Brian Vickers shot out to the front to lead the first lap. Meanwhile, Dale fell back to 14th.
By lap 4, Kyle Busch took the lead, and the #44 was 18th. Dale slipped to last during that lap but passed Bill Elliott on lap 7. Kevin Harvick took the lead on the same circuit. Dale dropped back to last three laps later.
Tony Stewart muscled under Harvick and took the lead on lap 11. Stewart got loose along the low line two laps later and nearly lost the top spot to Harvick; however, he held his ground. Harvick ultimately overpowered him on lap 14. Lap 16 saw Dale pass Elliott for 20th, but he was back to last one lap later.
The first competition yellow came on lap 20. Harvick was the leader, and Dale was still last. The race was red flagged, and all drivers were required to make a stop.
Ten minutes later, the race returned to yellow, and the cars assumed the positions they held before the break. About half the field pit the next time around the track to top off their fuel tanks.
Racing resumed with fifty laps to go. Harvick led the field, and Dale was 12th. All the cars behind the #44 had pit for fuel.
Kurt Busch took the lead and led the first lap back to racing. Dale was back to 17th. He continued to drop and was 20th by lap 25. In front of him, cars were going four-wide. Kyle Busch took to pushing his brother before jumping to the high line. With a push from Tony Stewart, Busch's #5 took the top spot. His brother took it back moments later. Cars were still three and four-wide, and Greg Biffle bumped into the side of Ken Schrader's #21. Biffle lost ground.
With 43 laps to go, Kyle Busch went to the outside of the #2 and took the lead. The #2 fell in line behind his brother's #5. Moments later, Dale rose to 18th, and he fought side-by-side with Scott Riggs for position. Riggs held him off, and Ken Schrader got back around him. Meanwhile, Jeff Gordon fell further back with an electrical issue.
Dale Earnhart Jr looked for the top spot with 38 laps to go, but Stewart supported Kyle Busch and enabled the #5 to hold onto first. Gordon's #24 pit shortly thereafter.
On lap 43, Jarrett passed Boris Said's #60 and Ryan Newman's #12 and was up to 17th. Six laps later, Newman went to the garage.
Lap 52 saw the first unplanned caution for debris on the frontstretch by the entrance of pit road. Everyone made stops, and Kyle Busch retained his lead by taking on just two tires. Most cars took on four.
13 laps remained when the green flag returned. Kyle Busch led, and Dale was 17th. Elliott and Said passed, dropping the #44 two spots. One lap later, Dale got back around Elliott, and he was around Riggs the next time around the track. He passed Schrader next and Biffle after that. He was now 15th. With 9 to go, he got around Mark Martin for 14th. Biffle and Schrader got back around him as Dale continued to peak inside for position.
With 8 laps to go, Stewart moved Kyle Busch out of the way and took the top spot. Dale was still riding 17th. On the last lap, Earnhardt Jr ran into the back of Elliott Sadler's #19 in the corner and turned him into Denny Hamlin's #11. Kasey Kahne plowed into Hamlin's sideways Chevy. Stewart went on to win the race, with Dale crossing the stripe in 18th.
Be sure to watch Michael Waltrip Racing at Daytona tomorrow as they qualify for the Daytona 500! Coverage begins at 2:00pm ET on FOX.