Jarrett wins 2004 Budweiser Shootout
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"I knew from practice yesterday that if we got our car to the front and got clean air, nobody could pass us," said the winner. "I just needed to get there. I couldn't have done it without Dale Jr. beating the back bumper off this thing, that's what we needed."
The Shootout, a non-points scoring event, was held at night for just the second time in its 26-year history. The race was highlighted by tight racing, a quick pit stop and varying fuel/tire strategies among the teams.
The race was be run in two segments. The first segment was 20 laps, dominated by
Following a 10-minute stoppage for fuel, tires and adjustments, the second segment, 50-laps, began on the 2.5-mile high-banked speedway.
Pole-sitter Mayfield retook the lead in the second segment, but on lap 61 he got loose, slid into
"We just lost it, we ran out of real estate," said Mayfield, who changed just two right-side tires on their pit stop.
The race was halted with eight laps to go so that officials could completely clean the track of debris for the final laps. The final laps were a wild show with Newman and
"I knew at the end of the race the outside line might be the line to be in, unfortunately we weren't in the front of it" said Earnhardt Jr. "All I could do was to push him to the front and then try to make a move on him."
Behind the leaders on the final lap Newman and McMurray crashed, but neither driver was hurt.
The win was worth a cool $210,000 for Jarrett from the $1,066,000 purse.
Qualifying for the 2004 Daytona 500 is scheduled to begin on Sunday at 12 p.m. (et).