Countdown to the Daytona Shootout: Junior

10 Days Until the Budweiser Shootout What should 4 first-timers expect? Junior will tell you (Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2004) -- It would be easy to gain a feasible understanding of the intensity of the Budweiser Shootout by analyzing historical...

10 Days Until the Budweiser Shootout
What should 4 first-timers expect? Junior will tell you

(Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2004) -- It would be easy to gain a feasible understanding of the intensity of the Budweiser Shootout by analyzing historical trends, driver behavioral patterns, and technological advances. Or we can just have Dale Earnhardt Jr. shed some perspective.

"It's like a bar fight, but the car takes the beating."

Any questions?

Dale Jr., driver of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet, should know; he's been in three of these things (not bar fights, Budweiser Shootouts.) He even won the race in 2003, so when it comes to advising those who will compete in this 70-lap, all-star event for the first time, his words can be taken to heart.

Making their first-ever appearances in the Budweiser Shootout will be Dave Blaney (Bud Pole Award at Rockingham), Elliott Sadler (Bud Pole Awards at Darlington and Talladega), Boris Said (Bud Pole Award at Sonoma), and 2003 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Jamie McMurray (Bud Pole Award at Homestead-Miami). The four newcomers join 18 Shootout veterans as the group of drivers eligible for the Feb. 7 race at Daytona International Speedway.

"I'm really excited to run in the Budweiser Shootout this year," said McMurray, who will steer the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge out of the Chip Ganassi Racing stable. "I've watched this race on T.V. many times and thought it would be cool to race in it. That was one of the first things that went through my mind last year in Homestead when we grabbed the Bud Pole Award. I was thinking, 'Man, I get to be in the Bud Shootout!' I also think it will help the Texaco/Havoline team as it allows us to get more track time in preparation for the Daytona 500."

Blaney will drive the No. 23 Bill Davis Racing Dodge in the Shootout, although he won the Rockingham Bud Pole Award in the No. 77 Jasper Engines car. Said, the only non-regular NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver in the field, will drive the No. 01 U.S. Army/MB2 Motorsports Chevrolet. Sadler will return in his No. 38 M&M's Ford fielded by Robert Yates Racing.

"When the M&M'S team and I won our first Bud Pole at Darlington last spring, we were beside ourselves," Sadler said. "Then the dust finally settled from all the commotion, and I realized, 'Hey, that means we are in the Budweiser Shootout in Daytona.' It's a race similar to the old Winston (all-star race) -- a lot of hype surrounding the race. It's the fastest guys racing the fastest guys. I have to say I'm proud to finally make the field. We are going to take care of our equipment, but we are going there to win."

If one of the four first-timers are to win in their Budweiser Shootout debuts, they won't be the first to do so. Dale Earnhardt earned a victory in his first Shootout in 1980, as did Jeff Gordon in 1994.

The 26th running of the Budweiser Shootout is scheduled for Sat., Feb. 7. It can be seen live on TNT at 8 p.m. ET. For race tickets, call 1-800-PITSHOP or log on to www.1-800-Pitshop.com

Anheuser-Busch's 12 U.S.-based breweries and network of more than 700 wholesalers reduce delivery time and ensure that fresh beer is in retail accounts shortly after packaging. As it reads on every beer package, Anheuser-Busch beers including Budweiser are at their peak of freshness and taste within 110 days from their "Born On" date.

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Boris Said , Jamie McMurray , Chip Ganassi , Robert Yates , Elliott Sadler , Dave Blaney
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Bill Davis Racing , Yates Racing