* Six Shootout Wins for RCR ... RCR has earned six checkered flags in the Budweiser Shootout -- 1986, 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995 with driver Dale Earnhardt and 2009 with driver Kevin Harvick-- and has had an entry in 23 of the 31...
* Six Shootout Wins for RCR ... RCR has earned six checkered flags in the Budweiser Shootout -- 1986, 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995 with driver Dale Earnhardt and 2009 with driver Kevin Harvick-- and has had an entry in 23 of the 31 races.
* Two to Get Ready ... RCR will field entries for both Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick in this year's all-star event. This is the second consecutive season that the Welcome, N.C.-based organization has had multiple entries in the Budweiser Shootout's 31-race history.
* Play by the Rules ... Burton and Harvick became eligible for the 32nd annual season-opening event by being past race winners at Daytona International Speedway. Burton visited Victory Lane in July 2000 while Harvick captured the checkers in the 2007 Daytona 500 and the 2009 Budweiser Shootout. The new qualifying rule will showcase a strong line-up of drivers who were last season's top performers and previous race winners at the sport's most-storied race track. The star-studded field will compete in two segments, 25 and 50 laps, with a 10-minute pit stop between segments to allow teams to visit pit road should they elect to change tires, add fuel and make chassis adjustments.
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet Impala
* This Week's Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway ... Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 233 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This chassis was used as a back up in all four superspeedway events in 2009. Following extensive off-season wind tunnel testing, the decision was made to make this Chevrolet Impala the primary for Harvick in this season's Budweiser Shootout.
* Defending Champion ... The 2007 Daytona 500 winner and the No. 29 Shell Pennzoil Racing team claimed victory in the 2009 Budweiser Shootout. Harvick took the lead on the final lap and took the checker on a green-white-checker finish, marking his first win in five attempts in the non-points season opener at the famed 2.5-mile superspeedway. In five Budweiser Shootouts, the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil team has finished in the top-10 four times. It was RCR's first win in the annual season opener since Dale Earnhardt won in 1995.
* Honoring a Fallen Teammate ... The helmets of the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil over-the-wall crew members will don special decals for the 2010 season in a tribute to former rear-tire changer Donald 'DJ' Richardson, Jr. Richardson, Jr., a native of Leominster, Mass., passed away at the age of 37 from complications of the H1N1 virus. He joined RCR in July 2009 and finished the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season as a member of the No. 29 team. The 2005 Sprint Cup All-Star Rear-Tire Changer Champion began his Cup Series career with Andy Petree Racing in 1999. He also worked for Penske Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Braun Racing.
The Bud Shootout, you're the defending champion. Is it a good race for you?
"It was a good night for the Shell Pennzoil team last year and a great way to kick off the season. We had a car that was good from the time we unloaded it, and ended up using that same car in the Daytona 500 after we wrecked the primary in practice. We finished second in the (Daytona) 500 with it, so it was a good car for us and a good weekend for us in Daytona."
What are your thoughts on the new qualifying format to gain entry in this year's Budweiser Shootout?
"Clearly, we are happy about the change in qualifying for the Bud Shootout. As the defending winners, the Shell Pennzoil team is looking forward to getting back to Daytona and going for two wins in a row. I think the new format is great and will be very exciting for the fans. It is one of those races where you have no pressure and just race to win."
Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet Impala
* This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway ... Jeff Burton will pilot chassis No. 238 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Kevin Harvick piloted this former No. 29 racer at Talladega Superspeedway last April, posting a 38th-place finish after being involved in a multi-car incident just seven laps into the 188-lap race. Harvick was scheduled to drive this car in last season's Daytona 500, but a crash during practice forced the team to use a backup car instead. Built new in 2008, this No. 29-turned-31 Chevy Impala was driven in a number of races that year, including Auto Club Speedway at California in February, Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May, as well as the June race at Michigan International Speedway and the fall race at Bristol Motor Speedway. In those five races, Harvick qualified in the top-10 four times and posted three top-10 finishes, his best result being a fourth-place run at Bristol in August. At the completion of the 2008 season, the RCR entry was converted from its original downforce configuration into a superspeedway car.
* The Road Previously Traveled ... In four Budweiser Shootout starts at the 2.5-mile superspeedway, Burton boasts one top-five and two top-10 efforts. His best finish of fifth came in 2001 after taking the green flag 16th. The veteran driver also has a 13th-place average starting position and a 14.25 average finish.
* Defending Race Winning Crew Chief Takes Charge ... Todd Berrier is the Budweiser Shootout's defending race winning crew chief. Berrier visited Victory Lane last season when driver Harvick captured the 2009 Budweiser Shootout victory. The Kernersville, N.C., native was named crew chief of the Cat Racing team in October 2009 and starts his first full season, calling the shots for Burton, this weekend in Daytona.
* Burton on Newsstands ... The South Boston, Va., native and his two children, Paige and Harrison, are one of three families featured in the February 14 issue of USA WEEKEND magazine. One third of the magazines published feature the Burton family on the cover while the other two thirds feature either Juan Pablo Montoya or Michael Waltrip and their respective children on the cover. The national publication, which is found in 600 newspapers across the country, also features an in-depth column on how the drivers juggle their racing career and father duties along with a pull-out poster, featuring all three families together.
The Cat Racing team is a part of the Budweiser Shootout based on your win at Daytona in 2000. What are your thoughts on being part of this pre-season event.
"I've always said that I don't like standing on the sidelines when there is a race going on. So, with that, I'm excited to be a part of the Budweiser Shootout this season. The new qualifying format showcases drivers who have been victorious at Daytona and I think this year's event will not only be very competitive, but the mix of drivers will add a lot of excitement for the fans."
How advantageous is for you and the team to be a part of this race?
"I'm excited about it. It gets the weekend going because you haven't been racing and it helps to get back into the swing of things. We tested quite a bit this winter but it's not the same as racing. Really, the first time you get back into a race car and are able to compare yourself with other drivers, it's a shootout. And, when you're watching it while the other drivers are out there racing, it's a big disadvantage because of how the testing rules are laid out. So, from a seat-time standpoint, I think it's extremely advantageous to be in the Shootout. Goodyear has a new tire, the cars will have a bigger restrictor plate and there are two new end plates on the wing that are completely different than we had it the past, so there is a lot to learn. The sooner we get in the cars, the better."
Is there rust the teams have to knock off every year and is the Budweiser Shootout helpful with that?
"Competition brings something out of you that you can't replicate by practice or testing, especially in our sport. With football, basketball and baseball, you can practice and scrimmage at a level against people. When we go test, we're testing against the race track, which you ultimately have to beat. But, you have a lot of people you have to go through to beat the race track. So, in our sport, you don't get the chance to do that unless you're at the race track with other people. The Shootout is our first chance in three months to go out and try to beat our competitors. I think it's great to get started the week before the Daytona 500."