Budweiser Shootout

Track: Daytona International Speedway
Date: 2/8/2003
Car No: 8
Sponsor: Budweiser
Organization: Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Determined by random draw, Dale Jr. started 19th, but it took him only 16 laps to take the lead for the first time. With typical restrictor-plate racing in full effect, Junior's position changed each lap – moving forward, falling back, gaining a spot, losing a spot. In fourth place with five laps to go, Junior made a series of daring moves in traffic that propelled him into the lead for the final time on lap 66 of 70. He fended off attempts from Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth in the waning laps to secure the win, earning his first Budweiser Shootout victory and first non-points win since his surprising All-Star triumph in 2000.