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Truex Gains Random Access To Shootout Pole

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Saturday, February 18 2012

Martin Truex Jr. will start tonight's Bud Shootout from P1. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

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Martin Truex Jr. will lead the 25-car field to the green flag for the 34th annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway.

Truex Jr. secured P1 through a random selection process Friday night at the Budweiser Shootout Draw Party, during which participating drivers selected a Bud bottle featuring a number behind the label. The number serves as the driver’s starting position. The 18th driver to participate in the draw, Truex Jr. will be making his second start in the non-points event.

“It’s just cool,” said Truex Jr., driver of the No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry fielded by Michael Waltrip Racing. “I haven’t been in this race in a few years. I absolutely hated being down here (those years) and watching this race, so it’s cool just to be in it and to get the pole is icing on the cake.

“My car was really good (Friday) in practice. I was happy with it. It drove really good. I heard a lot of guys were having some handling issues, but my car was great, so I’m pretty excited about it. (My car) had good speed and was able to stay up in the front of the pack in the draft.”

Completing the all-Toyota front row is Kyle Busch in the No. 18 M&M’s Camry fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing.

Rounding out the top five were Brad Keselowski; 2010 Daytona 500 champion Jamie McMurray and David Ragan, who captured the 2011 Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola at DIS and is making his first Shootout start. Kurt Busch, defending winner of the event, will start from the sixth position.

Reigning Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart will start 15th while five-time series champion Jimmie Johnson will roll off from the 18th position.

“We’ll take that,” said Greg Biffle who will start his seventh career shootout on Saturday. “Hopefully we’ll be able to get to the front there at the end and go for the win.”

“I don’t think it really matters where you start in the Shootout,” said Matt Kenseth, who will be making his sixth career start in the event from the 23rd spot. “You would rather start in the front if you had your pick, but it’s a random draw and we’ll start 23rd and look to pass 22 cars.”

The 75-lap event around DIS’ high-banked, 2.5-mile trioval is scheduled for an 8:10 p.m. (EST) green flag. FOX will provide live television coverage beginning with its pre-race show at 8 p.m.

Starting Lineup

1. Martin Truex Jr.

2. Kyle Busch

3. Brad Keselowski

4. Jamie McMurray

5. David Ragan

6. Kurt Busch

7. Greg Biffle

8. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

9. A.J. Allmendinger

10. Joey Logano

11. Carl Edwards

12. Jeff Burton

13. Ryan Newman

14. Jeff Gordon

15. Tony Stewart

16. Denny Hamlin

17. Clint Bowyer

18. Jimmie Johnson

19. Kasey Kahne

20. Michael Waltrip

21. Marcos Ambrose

22. Kevin Harvick

23. Matt Kenseth

24. Paul Menard

25. Juan Pablo Montoya

Notes

· Of the 25 drivers entered in the event, seven are previous Budweiser Shootout winners: Busch (2011), Harvick (2009 and 2010), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003 and 2008), Stewart (2001, 2002 and 2007), Denny Hamlin (2006), Jimmie Johnson (2005) and Jeff Gordon (1994 and 1997).

· Marcos Ambrose and Brad Keselowski are scheduled to make their first start in the Budweiser Shootout on Saturday. Five drivers have scored wins in their first Budweiser Shootout start, including: Buddy Baker in the inaugural event in 1979, Earnhardt in 1980, Gordon in 1994, Dale Jarrett in 1996 and Hamlin in 2006.

· Five drivers have won the Budweiser Shootout after leading only the final lap of the race. The list of drivers includes: Earnhardt (1980), Neil Bonnett (1983 and 1984), Rusty Wallace (1998), Jarrett (2004) and Harvick (2009).

By the numbers

3 – Only three drivers have won the Budweiser Shootout after starting from the pole position. Darrell Waltrip won from the top spot in 1981, Bill Elliott accomplished the feat in 1987 and Ken Schrader did the same in 1989.

4 – Four different drivers have won back-to-back Budweiser Shootout: Harvick (2009-10), Stewart (2001-02), Schrader (1989-90) and Bonnett (1983-84).

5 – The Budweiser Shootout winner has gone on to win the Daytona 500 the following weekend on five occasions. Bobby Allison pulled off the Daytona Speedweeks sweep in 1982 and Bill Elliott did the same in 1987. Jarrett accomplished the feat twice in his career (1996 and 2000). Gordon also scored wins in both the Budweiser Shootout and the Daytona 500 in 1997.

7 – The winner of the Budweiser Shootout has gone on to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship seven times. Earnhardt was the first to do it in 1980, and repeated in 1986, 1991 and 1993. Waltrip (1981), Gordon (1997) and Stewart (2002) also scored championships after starting the season off with a win in the Budweiser Shootout.

11 – The record for most starts before scoring a win is 11, a mark shared by Mark Martin and former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Rusty Wallace.

12 – The drivers scheduled to participate in this year’s Budweiser Shootout have combined for a total of 12 wins in the race. Three victories are credited to Stewart. Harvick, Earnhardt Jr. and Gordon have each earned two wins in the Budweiser Shootout, while Busch, Hamlin and Johnson have scored one a piece.

27

Harvick holds the record for lowest starting position by a winner in the Budweiser Shootout. In 2009 he started the race from the 27th position and took the lead on the final lap to score the vict

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Saturday, February 18 2012
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