THE STARTING GRID:
#88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the first race of any kind since his 2006 victory at Richmond, passing #20-Tony Stewart coming to the white flag to snare his second Budweiser Shootout. He led a race-record 47 laps and fought off strong challenges from #20-Tony Stewart and #48-Jimmie Johnson in the final 3-lap dash to the finish. #88-Earnhardt, Jr. first took the lead on lap 7 over former teammate #55-Michael Waltrip and hardly relinquished it after that by running very high around the track. #88-Earnhardt, Jr. was concerned over a vibrating drive train in the final laps, but the car still held together.
1) #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. THE WINNER!
2) #20-Tony Stewart Easily #88-Earnhardt, Jr.’s biggest competition, racing side-by-side with #88 for several laps in the closing stages. Drafted by #88-Earnhardt, Jr. all by himself with 9 to go to take the lead, but #88 came back to pass him coming to the white flag. Led 9 laps.
3) #48-Jimmie Johnson Raced a backup car after practice crash; used a short track car. Despite saying the car was a “brick” in segment one, came back to run very strong in segment two after lagging in the back with teammate #24-J. Gordon.
4) #24-Jeff Gordon Raced a backup car after practice crash; used a short track car. Lagged in the back of the pack with teammate #48-Johnson in the first segment. Led 1 lap.
5) #41-Reed Sorenson Ran as high as third in the second segment behind #88-Earnhardt, Jr. and #20-Stewart.
6) #5-Casey Mears NO NOTES
7) #22-Dave Blaney Led a fair amount of the second segment early on by inching past #88-Earnhardt, Jr. on the restart, gained 3 spots off pit road under #38-Gilliland caution to take the lead again, but was shaken from the draft by the leaders. Led 7 laps.
8) #8-Mark Martin Led 1 lap.
9) #11-Denny Hamlin Durability of his car was tested from damage sustained in #26-McMurray incident that flattened the right side of his car and was later almost hooked into a spin on backstretch by #07-Bowyer.
10) #9-Kasey Kahne Was not damaged severely from contact with wrecking #38-Gilliland.
11) #55-Michael Waltrip Inherited pole from damaged #2-Ku. Busch and led lap 1, but overshot his pit stall in the second segment. Led a total of 2 laps.
12) #99-Carl Edwards Led 1 lap.
13) #44-Dale Jarrett Raced in his final Bud Shootout, but after winning the event in previous election years in 1996, 2000, and 2004, failed to contend for the win in 2008.
14) #07-Clint Bowyer NO NOTES
15) #49-Ken Schrader NO NOTES
16) #96-J.J. Yeley Spun out with #12-Newman with 7 laps to go behind the spinning #2-Ku. Busch in the fourth and final caution.
17) #12-Ryan Newman Raced a backup car after a practice accident with several drivers and wound up spinning with #12-Newman with 7 laps to go in the fourth and final caution.
18) #2-Kurt Busch Raced a backup car after a practice accident with #20-Tony Stewart. An unscheduled green-flag stop in segment two was costly; he had made contact with #38-Gilliland which led to #38 cutting a tire and hitting the wall. He got his lap back, but then spun from the top 10 in turn 3 to bring out the fourth and final caution of the race with 7 laps to go. The only damage was to his valence, which was ground across the apron as he spun.
19) #38-David Gilliland Brought out the third caution of the race when he blew a right-front tire and hit the wall off turn 4, bouncing off #9-Kahne in the process, and was then rear-ended by drafting #1-Truex, Jr. and #16-Biffle. Led 2 laps.
20) #16-Greg Biffle Ran a car which last run at MV in 2007, a car which was then wrecked in the #38-Gilliland caution when he and #1-Truex, Jr. rear-ended #38 in the third caution.
21) #1-Martin Truex, Jr. Was drafting behind #16-Biffle when he rear-ended #38-Gilliland, wrecking his car as well in the third caution.
22) #26-Jamie McMurray Saved his car from spinning in segment one after contact with #38-Gilliland, but wrecked in segment two after merging on top of #11-Hamlin in the tri-oval, annihilating the right-front of his car in the second caution of the event and the first in segment two.
23) #21-Bill Elliott Blew a right-front tire in turn 1 after lagging back in the first segment, forcing the final 5 laps of segment one to be run under the race’s first caution. Car stopped against the wall and was very difficult to drag down the banking.