Daytona Shootout: First time competitors

Countdown to the 2008 Budweiser Shootout Four First Time Competitors Help to Make Up Record Field of 23 Starters CHARLOTTE, N.C., (February 5, 2008) -- When the engines fire for the 30th Annual Budweiser Shootout on February 9th at Daytona ...

Countdown to the 2008 Budweiser Shootout
Four First Time Competitors Help to Make Up Record Field of 23 Starters

CHARLOTTE, N.C., (February 5, 2008) -- When the engines fire for the 30th Annual Budweiser Shootout on February 9th at Daytona International Speedway, there will be more horsepower than ever before as a record 23 cars will start the event. Joining this year's field are four first-time starters who are excited to be a part of the action under the lights at DIS.

Two of the newest contenders, Martin Truex, Jr. and Clint Bowyer, are coming off an appearance in the 2007 Chase for the Championship. With just three races remaining in the 2007 season, Truex solidified his position in the Shootout by scoring the pole position at Texas Motor Speedway.

"Qualifying for the Shootout was one of our major goals when the season started," said Truex, Jr. "There's nothing worse than sitting on the sidelines when the cars hit the track for the first time each season. If you win the Shootout, you can truly say that you've beaten the best of the best."

Joining Truex and Bowyer as first timers are J.J. Yeley and Reed Sorenson. Sorenson returns for his third season as driver of the No. 41 Dodge at Chip Ganassi Racing while Yeley is debuting as the new driver for Hall of Fame Racing. While Yeley is looking forward to track time with his new team, Sorenson knows there are no championship points on the line in this event.

"I'm excited to be in the Budweiser Shootout. It's my first time in the event and I know it's a pretty big deal, so I'm looking forward to it," said Yeley. "It will give us a chance to get some extra track time in real drafting conditions in our DLP Toyota Camry. It's a big event with a lot of history to it, so we'd like to have a good showing."

"The Shootout is an all or nothing race, which makes it fun for the drivers and the fans," Sorenson said. "What an honor it would be to win the 30th Running of the Budweiser Shootout. We're either coming home with the trophy or a wrecked car."

J.J. Yeley (Driver of #96 Toyota) -- "I think it will be very beneficial since I'm new to the team and we've got a new manufacturer with Toyota. Any additional track time that we can get, especially in race conditions, will help us heading into the Daytona 500. I'm looking forward to the opportunity and hopefully we can have a good run."

Reed Sorenson (Driver of the #41 Dodge) -- "I'm very excited about the opportunity to race in the Budweiser Shootout. I got into the race by getting the pole for the Brickyard last year, which is definitely one of the highlights of my career so far. It's also great practice for the Daytona 500, so I'm really looking forward to getting down there and getting things going."

By the Numbers...

1 - The number of starts it took Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin to visit victory lane in the Shootout. Hamlin won his first Budweiser Shootout in 2006 becoming the fifth driver to win in his first start. The remaining drivers are Buddy Baker in the 1979 debut race followed by Dale Earnhardt in 1980, Jeff Gordon in 1994 and Dale Jarrett in 1996.

5 - The four rookie starters in this year's Budweiser Shootout have a combined total of five pole wins in the 2007 season, which coincidentally ties Ryan Newman's total for last year and falls just two shy of Jeff Gordon's seven poles, which was the most poles earned by a driver in 2007.

7 - The record for the fewest starters in a Budweiser Shootout field was set in 1981 where Darrell Waltrip was the race winner.

8 - The number of 2007 Chase Contenders who are participating in the 30th Annual Budweiser Shootout.

22 - The previous record for the most starters in a Budweiser Shootout field was set in 2002 where Tony Stewart posted his second career Shootout victory.

2006 - This was the season that Bowyer, Truex, Jr., Yeley and Sorenson were contenders for the Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year Title.

-credit: budweiser

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Tony Stewart , Ryan Newman , J.J. Yeley , Martin Truex Jr. , Chip Ganassi , Clint Bowyer , Denny Hamlin , Reed Sorenson , Buddy Baker
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing , Hall of Fame Racing