Daytona Shootout moves to Saturday night in 2003

Budweiser Shootout at Daytona moves to Saturday night, primetime telecast in 2003. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Nov. 1, 2002) -- The 25th anniversary of the Budweiser Shootout At Daytona will be held under the lights for the first time on Saturday, Feb.

Budweiser Shootout at Daytona moves to Saturday night, primetime telecast in 2003.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Nov. 1, 2002) -- The 25th anniversary of the Budweiser Shootout At Daytona will be held under the lights for the first time on Saturday, Feb. 8, at Daytona International Speedway.

The Budweiser Shootout has been traditionally scheduled during Speedweeks on a Sunday afternoon, a week before the Daytona 500. But during Speedweeks 2003, the Budweiser Shootout will move to 8 p.m., Feb. 8 and will be televised by FOX Sports in prime time.

"Nighttime racing is a big hit for both competitors and fans and we're pleased to add more night racing at Daytona International Speedway," Speedway President Robin Braig said. "The allure of night racing will certainly bring a bigger audience to the Budweiser Shootout. It will be a fantastic race."

"We're always looking for new ways to add excitement to the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, and we believe moving the race to Saturday night will be very popular with the fans and drivers," said Tony Ponturo, Vice President of Global Media and Sports Marketing at Anheuser-Busch. "Moving to Saturday night and televising the race live during prime time on FOX are great ways to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Budweiser Shootout."

The Speedway lighting system was first utilized for stock cars in 1998 for the Pepsi 400. Besides the Pepsi 400, other races at the Speedway that are held under the lights include the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the summer NASCAR Busch Series race and the Jani-King Paul Revere 250 Rolex Sports Car Series race.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc., will be among the field of top competitors in the first nighttime running of the Budweiser Shootout. He's delighted to be racing under the lights at the "World Center of Racing" in February.

"Racing on prime time television is cool, and I feel like it just makes things quite a bit more exciting to race under the lights," said Earnhardt Jr., who won at Daytona in the 2001 Pepsi 400 at night. "The Daytona 500 should always be a daytime race, but other races there would be awesome at night."

The Budweiser Shootout is a non-points All-Star race that kicks off the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. The 70-lap race will feature the 2002 Bud Pole winners along with past champions of the Budweiser Shootout.

The field for the Budweiser Shootout currently stands at 18 drivers. Included in the who's who of NASCAR stars are Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Bill Elliott, Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Ryan Newman, Ward Burton, Matt Kenseth, Ricky Craven, Ricky Rudd, Kevin Harvick, Mark Martin, Geoffrey Bodine, Ken Schrader, Todd Bodine and Terry Labonte.

Joining the Budweiser Shootout on Feb. 8 will be the ARCA RE/MAX Series, which will hold its 200-mile season opener immediately prior to the Budweiser Shootout.

The only other additional nighttime action during Speedweeks 2003 will be the final Budweiser Shootout practice on Friday, Feb. 7.

Other changes to the first weekend of the stock car portion of Speedweeks include moving the NASCAR Goody's Dash Series race and Bud Pole Qualifying for the Daytona 500 to Sunday, Feb. 9 during the daytime.

Tickets for 2003 Speedweeks events, including the 25th annual Budweiser Shootout, are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.

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Mike Helton statement on 2003 Daytona Shootout

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Ward Burton , Bill Elliott , Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Terry Labonte , Tony Stewart , Geoffrey Bodine , Ken Schrader , Kevin Harvick , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Ricky Craven , Mike Helton , Paul King , Mark Martin