Countdown to the Daytona Shootout: Party

Countdown to the Budweiser Shootout: Draw Party 1 Day Until the Budweiser Shootout Notebook: Green flag tomorrow night! DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 6, 2004) -- Saturday night, the green flag will wave for the 26th running of the Budweiser...

Countdown to the Budweiser Shootout: Draw Party

1 Day Until the Budweiser Shootout
Notebook: Green flag tomorrow night!

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 6, 2004) -- Saturday night, the green flag will wave for the 26th running of the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, and 19 drivers will compete for a purse of $1,066,000 and begin the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup era. But first they must determine where they'll start.

That's where Friday night's Budweiser Shootout Qualifying Draw party comes in. The draw party is set to start at 8:30 p.m. (EST) in the Daytona Club tent, and will feature the premier of the Dale Earnhardt Jr. DVD called "Any Given Day", followed by the drawing of the Budweiser Shootout starting grid. Three-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion and FOX Sports analyst Darrell Waltrip will emcee the event, as the drivers participating in the 70-lap, all-star race draw their starting positions. Live music and entertainment will follow.

NEW SPOTTER: Stevie Reeves has been named the No. 8 Budweiser team's spotter for the 2004 season. Already a member of the Dale Earnhardt Inc. family, Reeves previously served as spotter for the DEI No. 1 team, and, has been a part-time spotter for Dale Jr. in the past. Reeves is a two-time USAC National Midget Champion and has raced in the Busch Series and Indy Racing League (IRL).

HOW IMPORTANT is a front-row starting position in this race? If Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s win in last year's Budweiser Shootout is any indication, not too much. Junior started the race from the last position, 19th place. Runner-up finisher Jeff Gordon started 18th, and five of the top six finishers came from starting positions of 10th or worst. Junior isn't the only driver to win from the back. Dale Jarrett did it in 2000, and Junior's father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., did it twice (1991 and 1993.)

Year -- Driver (last-place starting position)
2003 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. (19)
2000 -- Dale Jarrett (15)
1993 -- Dale Earnhardt (15)
1991 -- Dale Earnhardt (14)

HISTORY SHOWS ... that starting in the front half of the grid isn't necessarily an advantage. In fact 13 of the 25 total Budweiser Shootouts were won by drivers who started in the latter half of the field. Of course, the total number of participants was a lot smaller in the earlier years. Not until 2002 did the field reach 20 or more entries. In the last five years, the average starting position for the winner is 11.4. In Bud Shootout history, the average starting position for the victor is 8.2. Only three drivers have won the Budweiser Shootout from the pole: Darrell Waltrip (1981), Bill Elliott (1987) and Ken Schrader (1989).

Year -- Driver (Starting Position; cars in the field)
2003 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Started 19th out of 19)
2002 -- Tony Stewart (Started 3rd out of 21)
2001 -- Tony Stewart (Started 7th out of 18)
2000 -- Dale Jarrett (Started 15th out of 15)
1999 -- Mark Martin (Started 13th out of 15)
1998 -- Rusty Wallace (Started 13th out of 17)
1997 -- Jeff Gordon (Started 3rd out of 14)
1996 -- Dale Jarrett (Started 12th out of 17)
1995 -- Dale Earnhardt (Started 9th out of 16)
1994 -- Jeff Gordon (Started 10th out of 13)
1993 -- Dale Earnhardt (Started 15th out of 15)
1992 -- Geoffrey Bodine (Started 3rd out of 15)
1991 -- Dale Earnhardt (Started 14th out of 14)
1990 -- Ken Schrader (Started 3rd out of 10)
1989 -- Ken Schrader (Started 1st out of 13)
1988 -- Dale Earnhardt (Started 2nd out of 12)
1987 -- Bill Elliott (Started 1st out of 10th)
1986 -- Dale Earnhardt (Started 4th out of 8th)
1985 -- Terry Labonte (Started 11th out of 12)
1984 -- Neil Bonnett (Started 8th out of 11)
1983 -- Neil Bonnett (Started 15th out of 16)
1982 -- Bobby Allison (Started 12th out of 13)
1981 -- Darrell Waltrip (Started 1st out of 7)
1980 -- Dale Earnhardt (Started 5th out of 12)
1979 -- Buddy Baker (Started 3rd out of 9)

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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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Terry Labonte , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Geoffrey Bodine , Ken Schrader , Bobby Allison , Stevie Reeves , Buddy Baker , Mark Martin