Rusty Start on Pole for Bud Shootout

Wallace starts Bud Shootout in familiar spot By Brett Borden DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 4, 1999) In a ceremony in DAYTONA USA's Pepsi theater replete with Budweiser frogs and chameleons, Rusty Wallace won't have to worry about leapfrogging ...

Wallace starts Bud Shootout in familiar spot By Brett Borden

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 4, 1999) In a ceremony in DAYTONA USA's Pepsi theater replete with Budweiser frogs and chameleons, Rusty Wallace won't have to worry about leapfrogging anybody to win the 1999 Bud Shootout.

Wallace, the winner of the Bud Shootout last year, will start this year's event right where he left off, in front. Wallace drew the frog with the No. 1 taped on its belly, giving him the Bud Pole, while Kenny Irwin, the last driver to draw a position, won the outside pole by default.

"I think it's real important starting up front," Wallace said. "Whenever you get track position on anybody nowadays -- because the cars are so equal -- it's got to be in your favor.

"(Before drawing) I said wouldn't it be neat the way we were running real good in the test sessions if we were to get here and draw No. 1? Because I tell you what, it's a big boost when you can take that thing down to the garage area and tell the guys 'Hey, we're on the front row.' It gets them pumped up and makes them feel good. I'm just real excited about it."

Wallace sees his fortunate draw as yet another sign that his luck at Daytona is changing. After years of disappointing finishes in stock car racing's biggest event -- the Daytona 500 -- Wallace began to turn things around last year with a fifth-place effort, following his victory in the Bud Shootout.

"I hope that (drawing the No. 1) means something," he said. "I feel like the team's on a roll. And whenever you come here and draw No. 1 that just makes you feel good that maybe there is some luck on your side. We had a great car last year in the Daytona 500. We led some laps and ran in second most of the day. And we brought the same car back for the Pepsi 400 and did equally as well. And now we've got a car that's much, much better, so you've got to think positively.

"The Daytona luck's definitely turned around. No doubt about that. The engines are so much stronger. The cars -- Robin's been building some really killer cars -- really handling good and real low on drag, what you have to have at Daytona and Talladega. Finally the Daytona and Talladega jinx seems like it's left me."

Without segments in this year's Bud Shootout, strategy will pretty much be the same for every driver ... push the pedal to the metal. And Wallace is ready to do just that.

"You've got to stand on the gas," he said of this year's event. "You've got to have the car that's got a strong motor in it. It can have a short fuse on it - it doesn't have to run all day long. So we'll put a real killer engine in that thing that's maybe not an engine that'll last a long time. But hopefully it's an engine that'll get the job done. And the one we had last year really got the job done, and hopefully this one will be better yet."

Rick Mast, driving a car sponsored by Budweiser, will start third in the Bud Shootout, alongside Ken Schrader in the second row. Derrike Cope and Ricky Craven will make up the third row, with Jeremy Mayfield and Jeff Gordon in Row 4, Bobby Labonte and Bobby Hamilton in Row 5, Ward Burton and Ernie Irvan in Row 6, and Mark Martin and Dale Jarrett in Row 7.

The 15th starter will come from the Bud Shootout qualifying race, a race in which Geoffrey Bodine drew the Bud Pole position for earlier Thursday morning.

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ward Burton , Derrike Cope , Bobby Hamilton , Ernie Irvan , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Rusty Wallace , Geoffrey Bodine , Ken Schrader , Ricky Craven , Rick Mast , Mark Martin