In his first start for Hendrick Motorsports, Dale Earnhardt Jr. powers his way to victory in the Budweiser Shootout. Pulling away from the pack coming to the flag, the #88 National Guard Impala SS would win by over a car length. Starting in seventh, he would take all of 6 laps to get to the front, swapping the point seven times and leading 47 of the 70 scheduled laps. After a push from his new teammate Jimmie Johnson, Earnhardt drove past Tony Stewart on the outside taking the white flag. One lap later, he would hold off Stewart and Johnson coming through the tri-oval, blocking both lines before pulling away. Earnhardt followed this event up by winning the first Gatorade Duel 150 five days later, and ultimately finishing 9th in the Daytona 500 three days removed from the Duel’s.