Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Shootout – The Field is Frozen at the Moment of Caution

White Flag Lap

According to the NASCAR Race Mom poll, the majority of the fans were not too happy with the changes made to the Budweiser Shootout this year. Only twelve percent of the voters in the NRM poll believed that it was time for changes in the shootout format. The remainder of the participants in the poll were evenly split (43.5%) between the notions, “Why break tradition” and “It is what it is.”

Rookies Joey Logano and Scott Speed were not allowed to showcase their skills, good or bad. They were wrecked out of Friday night's event at the Daytona International Speedway in less than five laps. The rookies were innocent victims of the first caution of the night that involve almost the entire twenty-eight car field.

"It sucks," Logano said after leaving the infield care center. "It's too early. I felt like we had a decent car for the first couple laps. I was just trying to get a feel for it before we went up there and mixed it up with everyone."

Another newcomer, A.J. Allmendinger turned in an uneventful but impressive run. Starting eighteenth, and avoiding multiple wrecks, Allmendinger brought his Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge to the finish line in fifth place.

I could not be more satisfied with my driver pick for the race, the #26 Crown Royal / Irwin car of Jamie McMurray. Well, I guess that is not quite true; a win would have been huge. However, as it is, McMurray, new Crew Chief Wingo and the entire Roush Fenway Racing team put on an impressive charge to the front from mid-pack. McMurray’s second place finish is his highest finish ever in the Shootout.

Jamie McMurray was leading at the white flag. The exciting “green, white, checkered” finish found Kevin Harvick’s car drafting past McMurray’s for the lead. Moments after that lead change, Jimmie Johnson and Casey Mears touched off a wreck, behind the leaders, that brought out the eighth caution of the evening and froze the field. This gave Harvick the victory in the non-points season opener.

Click on Photo for Video

photo & video from NASCAR site

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