GILLILAND LOOKS AHEAD TO THE BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT CONCORD, NC (February 6, 2008) --- The 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is set to take to the track this weekend at Daytona International Speedway for the 2008 Budweiser Shootout. David Gilliland,...
GILLILAND LOOKS AHEAD TO THE BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT
CONCORD, NC (February 6, 2008) --- The 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is set to take to the track this weekend at Daytona International Speedway for the 2008 Budweiser Shootout. David Gilliland, driver of the No. 38 Yates Racing Ford Fusion, is one of the 23 drivers eligible for the race on Saturday night.
The Budweiser Shootout is an exhibition non-points race held annually at Daytona International Speedway since 1979. The format for the race consists of two segments. The first race segment is comprised of 20 laps followed by a ten-minute intermission where teams are allowed to change tires and perform any other actions that might occur during a routine pit stop. The second segment is 50 laps and the race must end under a normal green-white-checkered finish.
Twenty-three drivers are eligible for the 2008 event which is a record for the largest starting field in the Budweiser Shootout's history. Eighteen of the drivers selected were eligible because they captured poles during the 2007 Sprint Cup Series season, while the remaining five drivers were selected since they are past winners of the Shootout.
Saturday night's race will be the second Shootout for Gilliland. Gilliland captured a pole for the 2007 Daytona 500 which made him eligible for this year's event.
"It's very exciting for me to be a part of this race," stated Gilliland. "It means a lot as far as getting an opportunity to get more experience with the new car at Daytona. I feel that earning a place to compete in the Budweiser Shootout is somewhat of an advantage since the race is a week before the Daytona 500. Not only is it helpful for the drivers, but it allows the teams to try certain things with the cars that they might not have been able to try at the Daytona 500."
The 2008 Budweiser Shootout will also mark the first time the brand new Car of Tomorrow (COT) chassis will run on the high-banks of Daytona. The new chassis style, which competed in 16 races during the 2007 season, has only participated in testing events at the superspeedway. Teams who are participating in the Shootout on Saturday night feel that the additional track time is an advantage to learning about the handling of the new car.
"It's incredibly important to get as much track time as we can with the COT making its debut at Daytona this year," commented Gilliland. "The Shootout will be the first time we are able to drive the new car under race conditions at Daytona, and having the chance to have additional time with that car on the track will help us out. It really gives our team the chance to get more information about how these cars will handle at this track, as well as being able to check out tire wear and some of our set-up options. It's a great tune-up for the start of the season and any time you have an opportunity to get extra track time, you just try to get as much information as you can to benefit from that opportunity"
The starting order for Saturday is chosen in a random draw on Thursday evening. Last year Gilliland drew the 13th starting position and finished second to race winner Tony Stewart. This year, Gilliland aims to have another strong performance, since according to NASCAR history, there have been five times in which the winner of the Shootout went on to win the Daytona 500.