DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – No. 15 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Michael Waltrip finished 15th in Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. Waltrip narrowly avoided two multicar accidents in the second segment but a lap-47 accident as he and Tony Stewart drafted together ended his race.
"I just got loose," said Waltrip who drew the 10th-starting spot at Friday night's Budweiser Shootout draw party. "The traffic was there and Tony (Stewart) got me wiggling. I must have lost it. It wasn't his fault and really, I'm not sure what we could have done differently.
"The 206 mph lap is the fastest I have ever gone here. That was awesome. It wasn't bad to push but to get pushed was really kind of scary."
The season-opening NASCAR Sprint Cup exhibition saw Waltrip post a 206.7 mph lap in the first 25-lap segment-the fastest he said he's ever raced at Daytona. Under the current rule configurations, two cars raced faster paired together instead of racing in the traditional multi-car packs.
Then in the final 50-lap segment, Waltrip survived two cautions on laps 28 and 35. Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Mark Martin weren't so lucky. Less than 20 laps later, Waltrip fell to a similar fate when his car broke loose and made contact with the wall.
Kurt Busch won the non-point race after Denny Hamlin dove below the yellow line to advance his position to the top spot as the checkered flag was about to be thrown. NASCAR disallowed Hamlin's move below the yellow line and he was relegated to 12th place, the final car on the lead lap.
Racing at Daytona continues with qualifying races on Thursday and the Daytona 500 on Sunday.