Daytona Shootout: Series preview

Star Power: New Lineup Criteria Boosts Budweiser Shootout At Daytona * Schedule Changes, Daytona 500 Qualifying Provide Countdown To Traditional Non-Points Kickoff Event DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 1, 2010) -- "Great Racing, Great Stories" -- the...

Star Power: New Lineup Criteria Boosts Budweiser Shootout At Daytona
* Schedule Changes, Daytona 500 Qualifying Provide Countdown To Traditional Non-Points Kickoff Event

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 1, 2010) -- "Great Racing, Great Stories" -- the theme to NASCAR's recent media-tour announcements -- gets rolling this week.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series officially returns to the track, opening a new decade. As the calendar flips to February, the events leading to Saturday night's traditional Budweiser Shootout at Daytona grow in significance, with a few twists.

This week, everything builds to Saturday.

That's when the 32nd annual Budweiser Shootout At Daytona -- the non-points precursor to the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 14 -- takes the first green flag at Daytona International Speedway.

It's the new year's initial opportunity to work under race conditions, and aside from a hefty trophy, a Budweiser Shootout at Daytona win gives the victor valuable momentum heading into Daytona 500 preparations.

This year, expect to see even more stars. On Dec. 23, 2009, NASCAR announced changes to the event's lineup format that emphasizes top performers from the previous season, plus drivers who have excelled at Daytona.

Harvick, the 2007 Daytona 500 champion, certainly qualifies.

A Fresh Field ... As announced last December, the Budweiser Shootout At Daytona field now includes a collection of the sport's top drivers and top performers at Daytona. Below is the new criteria, with eligibility dependent on drivers having competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series during the past two seasons:


* The 12 drivers who competed in the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
* Past NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions.
* Past Budweiser Shootout champions.
* Past Daytona 500 and Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola champions.
* The reigning Raybestos Rookie of the Year.

As has been the case since 2003, the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona will be run in two segments, the first at 25 laps and the second a 50-lap sprint for the win. That's 187.5 miles on the track's high-banked, 2.5-mile layout. Following the first segment, a 10-minute "pit stop" gives crews the opportunity to make normal adjustments to their cars. That means tweaks they would do on a normal pit stop during a regular NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.


* All work must be done on pit road or in the garage.
* Teams may not change springs, shocks or rear-ends.
* All green- and yellow-flag laps in both segments will count.

Following the 10-minute "pit stop", the event's second segment remains a 50-lap sprint for the win.

The 2010 field includes the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field, in finishing order: Reigning and four-time series champion Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Juan Pablo Montoya, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and Brian Vickers.

Other drivers eligible for the 2010 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona: John Andretti (Coke Zero 400 winner), Geoff Bodine (Coke Zero 400 and Budweiser Shootout winner), Jeff Burton (Coke Zero 400 winner), Kyle Busch (Coke Zero 400 winner), Derrike Cope (Daytona 500 winner), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400 and Budweiser Shootout winner), Bill Elliott (1988 series champion, Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400 and Budweiser Shootout winner), Kevin Harvick (Daytona 500 and Budweiser Shootout winner), Matt Kenseth (2003 series champion, reigning Daytona 500 champion), Bobby Labonte (2000 series champion), Terry Labonte (1984 and 1996 series champion, Budweiser Shootout winner), Joey Logano (reigning Raybestos Rookie of the Year), Sterling Marlin (Daytona 500 and Coke Zero 400 winner), Jamie McMurray (Coke Zero 400 winner), Ken Schrader (Budweiser Shootout winner) and Michael Waltrip (2001 and '03 Daytona 500 and Coke Zero 400 winner).

A New Schedule ... Traditionally, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series begins qualifying for the Daytona 500 on the Sunday following the Budweiser Shootout At Daytona.

That changes this year, due to Super Bowl XLIV being held Sunday in Miami. Daytona 500 qualifying will begin at 1:05 p.m. ET Saturday before the Budweiser Shootout, preceded by two busy practice and inspection days on Thursday and Friday.

Thursday, Feb. 4 -- The NASCAR Sprint Cup garage will be open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., both for inspection of Budweiser Shootout cars and two Budweiser Shootout practices (5-5:45 p.m. and 6:30-7:30 p.m.). That's followed by the traditional draw party (which determines the starting lineup) at 8 p.m., at the SPEED Stage outside Turn 4.

Friday, Feb. 5 -- The NASCAR Sprint Cup garage will be open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m., both for inspection of Daytona 500 cars and two Daytona 500 qualifying practices (2:10-3:30 p.m. and 4-5:30 p.m.). Pre-race inspection for Budweiser Shootout cars (which will be impounded) begins at 5:30 p.m.

For ticket information, visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.

Fast Facts

What: 32nd annual Budweiser Shootout At Daytona
Where: Daytona International Speedway

Track Layout: 2.5-mile tri-oval.

-source: nascar

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya