Jarrett Shootout King

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Dale Jarrett got an assist from Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Saturday night to score a win in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. Earnhardt bumped Jarrett ahead of Kevin Harvick and the inside pack of cars on the final lap to give the veteran his third win in the NASCAR all-star event for the previous season's pole winners.

It could be a good omen for Jarrett, who struggled terribly in 2003 with the Robert Yates Racing UPS Ford team. The previous two times Jarrett has won the Shootout he has gone on to win the Daytona 500.

Earnhardt followed Jarrett across the finish line for second, his third straight Top Two finish in the event. Harvick was shuffled back to third followed by Mark Martin and Mike Skinner.

Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Tony Stewart, Terry Labonte and Jimmie Johnson completed the Top 10.

The race, which is broken into two segments of twenty and fifty laps, was its usual flat out wild event. The final seven lap dash to the checkered was set-up when race leader Jeremy Mayfield made contact with Dave Blaney on the backstretch and crashed hard into the outside retaining wall. The front end of Mayfield's Dodge damaged a crossover gate on the backstratch causing NASCAR officials to red flag the event until repairs could be made.

On the final restart Harvick pushed his GM Goodwrench Chevrolet into the top spot and did his best to block the two oncoming lanes of traffic that lined up behind him in the draft. On the final lap, Jarrett moved his Taurus to the high line with Earnhardt's potent Budweiser Chevy in tow and with a shot from the nose of the No. 8 car catapulted into the lead.

As the front pack battled for the lead, Ryan Newman and Jamie McMurray, who was the leader after the first twenty lap segment, made contact with Newman's ALLTEL Dodge hitting the backstretch wall. The leaders continued to race to the checkered flag with Jarrett taking the victory.

"I have to thank my buddy Dale Jr.," Jarrett said in victory lane. "We had a fast car but that bump obviously helped us. It's amazing that at 190 mph you can actually bump the devil out of each other but that's what we can do out there."

Jarrett took home over $210,000 from the $1 million purse.

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