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Budweiser Shootout - Daytona Intl. Speedway

By luck of the draw, Jeff Gordon will start in the 6th position for Sunday's non-points shootout. The Budweiser Shootout is open to all winners of pole positions from the previous season. Gordon, who claimed three poles last year, will start in the third row outside of Steve Park. Ken Schrader will start on the pole, with Dale Earnhardt starting second. Rusty Wallace, the winner of the most poles in 2000, will start in 15th.

After starting from the 6th position, Gordon led several of the first 10 laps. He was able to repeatedly block drafting lines headed by Dale Earnhardt and Bobby Labonte, but finally the lead was taken from him by Earnhardt.

However, Earnhardt started to drift back because his tires were wearing. Finally, he pitted on lap 22. Gordon, who was ahead of Earnhardt at the time, slammed on the brakes and pitted with him as Mike Skinner and followed suit. Gordon, taking two tires, got off pit row first, as Bill Elliott, the lone Dodge, came in by himself the next lap. Gordon and Earnhardt got back on the track and drafted together to stay in front of the leaders, who hadn't pitted.

Jeff went for the win on the last lap, but the draft slid him back to 11th.

Gordon realized later that pitting early wasn't the way to go. "I wanted to stay with Earnhardt and I should have been staying with the other Earnhardt (Dale Jr.)," he said.

Soon Elliott had joined Jeff and Dale, and the three were maintaining a good distance in front of the leaders when suddenly they were lapped. Gordon went back to about 11th place.

The leaders pitted around lap 45, and Gordon was once again on the lead lap and battling for the lead. However, his two once-new tires were wearing out, and he couldn't really race hard.

On the final lap, Jeff tried to make a run on the bottom line of the race track from 5th.In a post-race interview Gordon said that he didn't want to finish fifth, he wanted to win or at least try. He finished 11th, but said the car for the Daytona 500 is better than the car that was run in the Shootout.Tony Stewart won the race as the first Pontiac driver to ever win the Budweiser Shootout.

Bud Shootout Top-5

  • Tony Stewart, Pontiac
  • Dale Earnhardt, Chevy
  • Rusty Wallace, Ford
  • Dale Jarrett, Ford
  • Jeff Burton, Ford

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