Countdown to the Budweiser Shootout: Kurt Busch Storybook weekend for Busch included earning invitation to '05 Shootout (Friday, Jan. 14, 2005) -- For Kurt Busch, the difference between competing for a Budweiser Shootout purse of more than $1...
Countdown to the Budweiser Shootout: Kurt Busch
Storybook weekend for Busch included earning invitation to '05 Shootout
(Friday, Jan. 14, 2005) -- For Kurt Busch, the difference between competing for a Budweiser Shootout purse of more than $1 million and watching the race on his own television was merely two-thousandths of a second. Two-thousandths of a second slower on his Bud Pole Qualifying run last November at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and the 27th running of the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona would have been without the series champion.
But on a weekend in which he claimed the inaugural Chase for the Nextel Cup title, Busch also earned his first Bud Pole Award of the season by beating teammate Greg Biffle's qualifying time by the smallest of margins. As a result, he will be one of 20 drivers eligible to compete in the 27th running of the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, a "non-points" race that consists of all Bud Pole Award winners from the previous season as well as former Shootout champions.
"I had been joking in the pre-qualifying interview (at Homestead) that we needed a pole to get into the Shootout," Busch said. "Miami ended up being a storybook ending for us, and to start that last race weekend off by picking up a Bud Pole Award and an invite to the Budweiser Shootout made it even sweeter."
For a driver known for his ability to string together strong finishes when points count the most, he'll now be thrown into an event where points mean nothing. The Shootout is a race of 70 green-flag laps totaling 175 miles. It is divided into two segments. The first segment will be 20 laps, followed by a 10-minute intermission. The second segment will be 50 laps and must end in a green-white-checkered finish.
This will be Busch's third time competing in the Budweiser Shootout. His first two attempts resulted in finishes of 14th (2002) and 11th (in 2003). But Busch has proven he can run with the best in restrictor-plate races. He recorded a pair of top-five finishes in the four plate races last season, including a fourth-place finish in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. In 2003, he finished runner-up in the rain-shortened Daytona 500 to Michael Waltrip.
"I'm really proud of the restrictor-plate effort by the Roush Racing organization," Busch said. "It seemed at one time that we were the little boy in town with not being able to put the power down and hang with a lot of those guys, but last year we really had set-ups that would run. I'm looking forward to getting to Daytona."
The 27th running of the Budweiser Shootout is scheduled for Sat., Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. ET. Race tickets are available by calling 1-800-Pit-Shop or by logging on to www.1800Pitshop.com.