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List Of Shootout-Eligible Drivers Is A Big One

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Friday, December 16 2011

Tony Stewart heads big list of Shootout candidates. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Christa L Thomas)

RacinToday.com

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.  – NASCAR’s list of eligible competitors for the 2012 Budweiser Shootout covers a timeline from reigning Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart to former Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope.

The 34th annual season-opening event launches Speedweeks at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 18, with start time set for 8:10 p.m. (EST). FOX Sports and MRN Radio will broadcast the event live nationally.

Criteria for the non-points race is predicated upon the following qualifications, with eligibility based on a driver having been active in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series during the 2011 season: the highest-ranked 25 competitors in 2011 driver points; previous winners at DIS, including the Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola and Budweiser Shootout events.

“By taking the top 25 competitors in last year’s driver points and combining that with former race- winners at Daytona, you have all the ingredients for an extremely deep and talented field of drivers for the 2012 Budweiser Shootout,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “When you take a look at the roster of drivers this entails, I have to believe this is one of the most competitive fields that have ever been assembled for this event.”

The race distance again will be 75 laps/187.5 miles, consisting of segments of 25- and 50-laps. Both green-flag laps and yellow-flag laps will count. Between segments there will be a 10-minute pit stop allowing teams to change tires, add fuel and make normal chassis adjustments. Crews will be permitted to work on cars and to perform functions they would perform during a normal Cup pit stop. All work must be performed on pit road or in the garage. Changing of springs, shock absorbers or rear-ends will not be permitted.

“The criteria for the 2012 Budweiser Shootout ensures race fans that the best NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers will battle for a coveted victory on the historic high-banks,” said Joie Chitwood III, DIS president. “Throughout its long history, the Budweiser Shootout has produced plenty of fireworks on the track and race fans can expect another exciting star-studded night of racing as we kick off the new NASCAR season.”

Starting positions again will be determined by a blind-draw at the annual Budweiser Shootout Draw Party on Friday, Feb. 17, at 8 p.m. on the SPEED stage in the Midway, outside Turn 4.

The Budweiser Shootout was first contested in 1979 and originally known as the Busch Clash. Kurt Busch, formerly of Penske Racing, is the defending champion.

“The 2012 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona has all of the ingredients to be one of the most exciting races in the event’s 30-plus year history,” said Rob McCarthy, vice president, Budweiser. “We can’t think of a better way to kick off a new season than by continuing this great tradition and watching the best drivers in NASCAR battle it out under the lights at Daytona.”

Tickets for the Budweiser Shootout start at $39, with special advance pricing available for tickets purchased in January. Admission is free for children 12-and-under. Tickets can be purchased for all 2012 Speedweeks events, including the Budweiser Shootout, online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

Current drivers eligible for the 2012 Budweiser Shootout:

Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing

Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing

Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing

Matt Kenseth, Roush Fenway Racing

Brad Keselowski, Penske Racing

Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports

Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports

Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing

Ryan Newman, Newman-Haas Racing

Kurt Busch, formerly Penske Racing

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing

Clint Bowyer, Michael Waltrip Racing

Kasey Kahne, Hendrick Motorsports

A.J. Allmendinger, Richard Petty Motorsports

Greg Biffle, Roush Fenway Racing

Paul Menard, Richard Childress Racing

Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip Racing

Marcos Ambrose, Richard Petty Motorsports

Jeff Burton, Richard Childress Racing

Juan Pablo Montoya, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates

Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip Racing

David Ragan, formerly Roush Fenway Racing

Joey Logano, Joe Gibbs Racing

Brian Vickers, formerly Red Bull Racing

Past DIS winners (criteria in parentheses)

Derrike Cope (Daytona 500)

Bill Elliott (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400, Budweiser Shootout)

Geoff Bodine (Daytona 500, Budweiser Shootout)

Michael Waltrip (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400)

Jamie McMurray (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400)

Trevor Bayne (Daytona 500)

Terry Labonte (Budweiser Shootout)

Ken Schrader (Budweiser Shootout)

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Friday, December 16 2011
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