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Hamlin wins Budweiser Shootout

Feb. 12, 2006 at 8:31 PM

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Denny Hamlin won the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona Beach, Fla., Sunday -- 0.029 seconds ahead of runner-up Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Hamlin's No.11 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet made him the fifth driver to win a Shootout in his first try and the first rookie to win it in the 28-year history of the event.

Hamlin was running in just his ninth Nextel Cup race. Tony Stewart, Scott Riggs and Jimmie Johnson completed the top-five.

"All I wanted to do was just gain respect from these guys for the '500' and hopefully we did that," Hamlin said. "I had good help, Jimmie gave me a great push down the back straight-away and Tony pushed me the entire race."

The Shootout counts as a preseason race before the Daytona 500 next Sunday.

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