Daytona Shootout: Countdown day one

Countdown to the 2009 Budweiser Shootout; Format Changes Help to Make Up Record Field of 28 Starters CHARLOTTE, N.C., (February 2, 2009) -- When the engines fire for the 31st Annual Budweiser Shootout on February 7th at Daytona ...

Countdown to the 2009 Budweiser Shootout; Format Changes Help to Make Up Record Field of 28 Starters

CHARLOTTE, N.C., (February 2, 2009) -- When the engines fire for the 31st Annual Budweiser Shootout on February 7th at Daytona International Speedway, there will be more horsepower than ever before as a record 28 cars will start the event.

The shootout's revamped format will feature cars representing the top teams from Chevy, Dodge, Ford and Toyota that will showcase the close competition in NASCAR's premier series. That lineup will consist of the top six teams and a wild card entry from each manufacturer.

"I think the new format will be more exciting for the fans," said Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 9 Budweiser Dodge. "This is the largest field to start in the shootout so I think we'll see a little more action than in previous races. The Budweiser Shootout is always an exciting race to be a part of. There's no pressure. No points on the line, just putting it all out there for the win. You can take a few extra chances that you might not take in the Daytona 500."

The race distance will be increased from 70 laps to 75 (187.5 miles) on the historic 2.5-mile tri-oval. The race will have two segments, the first with 25 laps and the second with 50 laps.

"I'm excited to be a part of this year's Budweiser Shootout," said Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevy. "I hate going to Daytona when there is a race running and I'm not in it. This year we're able to go down there and get a race in before the year starts and I think that's a really good thing, especially without testing. All four manufacturers are equally represented in this race, which is not only good for our sport but it will also add a lot of excitement for the fans. The Shootout is a fun race to watch and, hopefully, it's more fun to be a part of."

Starting positions again will be determined at the annual Budweiser Shootout Draw Party, which is free to fans at 7 p.m. EST on Thursday night, February 5 on the SPEED stage. The Draw Party will be broadcast by SPEED channel beginning at 8 p.m. EST.

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota

"Just looking at who is all in it now, it's just going to make it a tougher race. It's the top guys from each manufacturer with a couple of wild cars thrown in there, so I think it makes it the race even more difficult to win than ever before."

Casey Mears, driver of the No. 07 Chevrolet

"The Bud Shootout is just a fun race to be in. It's exciting. It's a lot of fun. You're just there to win. You're not there to point's race. In the big race, you might think twice about making a risky move just because you don't want to get the year started off on the wrong foot. In the Shootout, you're just there to win, so that makes it a lot of fun. I've always enjoyed it. At the same time, it's going to give us a little bit of a leg up on gathering information for the Daytona 500."

Reed Sorenson, driver of the No. 43 McDonald's Dodge

"I think it's a great race and a fun way to kick off the year. There is no pressure and you can just go out and race your hardest against some of the best drivers in NASCAR. I raced in my first Bud Shootout last year and finished fifth -- it was an awesome experience. I'd love to go down there this year and win the race -- that would be a great way to start off a new season with a new team."

Budweiser Shootout By the Numbers...

6 - Most Career Victories in the Budweiser Shootout (Dale Earnhardt in 1980, 86, 88, 91, 93, 95)

11 - Number of 2008 Chase drivers entered in the field

19 - Lowest starting position by a Budweiser Shootout winner (Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in 2003)

23 - The previous record for the most starters in a Budweiser Shootout field was set in 2008 where Dale Earnhardt, Jr. posted his second career Shootout victory.

-credit: budweiser

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Casey Mears , Kasey Kahne , Reed Sorenson , Kyle Busch