Daytona Shootout: Budweiser, Earnhardt Jr. preview

Earnhardt Jr. Budweiser Race : The Budweiser Shootout Dale Jr. Quotes for the Budweiser Shootout "I can't wait. I know a lot of people are wondering about me going back to Daytona and the anniversary of my father's crash. But, I feel like...

Earnhardt Jr. Budweiser Race : The Budweiser Shootout

Dale Jr. Quotes for the Budweiser Shootout
"I can't wait. I know a lot of people are wondering about me going back to Daytona and the anniversary of my father's crash. But, I feel like I dealt with a lot of those emotions when I came back to Daytona last July. I'm here to race, so let's throw the green flag. I love this track and I love racing here. It has always meant a lot to me and it means even more since last February.

"I sometimes complain about how long the season is and how short our off-season seems, but I've had enough of an off-season. This race has always been fun to watch, and now it's cool that I'm in the field for the second time. The Bud guys tease me because once or twice I called it the Busch Clash, but that's only because I loved watching it for so many years when it was called that [1979 through 1987 to be exact].

"It's important for the team to be in this race for a lot of reasons. The main one is our sponsor - Budweiser! We've gotta be in that line-up and make sure we keep that red Bud car ahead of the field. Another factor is that it shows that our team was good enough last year to win a couple of Bud Poles.

"I think this race is great preparation for the Daytona 500, because the rules say you have to make a pit stop. It gives us a chance to make a stop in the heat of battle. You can practice all you want, but it's no match for jumping over that wall with a race on the line. Plus, I think it gives us a sense of how we stack up against the other top cars. The new aerodynamic rules make it a bit of an unknown how the cars will react in the draft, so this may give us some answers and teach us some things for the 125 (qualifying race) and the 500."

Dale Jr. and the No. 8 Bud Team at Daytona
Winston Cup Starts: 4 (points races)
Best Start: 4th (Feb., 2001)
Best Finish: 1st (July, 2001)

The Budweiser team was a dominant factor last season at Daytona, leading laps in every race entered at the famed 2.5-mile Florida track. The sixth-place tally in the Budweiser Shootout was the team's only finish outside of the top two spots at Daytona. They claimed finishes of second in a photo finish in the 125-mile qualifier, second in the Daytona 500 and then an emotional victory in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in July.

What:
Budweiser Shootout at Daytona
70 Laps, 175 miles
2.5-mile oval
Non-points all-star event

Where:
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL

When:
Sunday, Feb. 10
2:00 pm

Watch:
TNT
(All Times: Eastern)
You can also listen to the race live on the Motor Racing Network (MRN) on a radio station near you.

Bud Pole Qualifying:
The starting lineup for this event is determined by a random drawing during NASCAR's media day festivities at noon, Thursday, Feb. 7. There are 23 drivers eligible for the race.

What to Watch
To gain an entry into the Budweiser Shootout, a driver had to win a Bud Pole Award during the 2001 Winston Cup season or be a past winner of the Budweiser Shootout (or Busch Clash as it was previously known). The No. 8 Bud team won two Bud Poles in 2001. (At Texas in April and at Atlanta in November.) The winner will receive $200,000 of the more than $966,000 total purse.

-budweiser-

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup