- Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 January 2011 15:42
- Published on Tuesday, 11 January 2011 15:42
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It’s not the Daytona 500, but it comes to you from Daytona International Speedway. It’s in prime time Saturday night Feb. 12, the weekend before the 500 and features a stellar field of top drivers. Funny how by the time the circuit gets to Homestead in November each year the whole circus has kind of worn out its welcome. It’s time for some football.
Then again just a couple months without racing, another season of being disappointed by the Redskins, and come January you start getting itchy for Speedweeks. Come on, February. The traditional season opener since 1979, The Bud Shootout is a great tease, a non-points race that gives us a sneak peak at the upcoming season. It’s our first look at new team and driver combinations, color schemes on the race cars for the new season and an exciting 75-lap dash for the cash.
With a strong lineup that features former Sprint Cup Series Champions, last year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup Field and a host of former outstanding rookies, along with a collection of previous winners. It marks the first Sprint Cup Series event on the track’s newly repaved surface.
Criteria for participants is based on the following, with eligibility based on the driver having competed in the Cup Series within the past two years.
• The 12 drivers who qualified for the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup.
• Past NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions.
• Past Budweiser Shootout winners.
• Past Daytona 500 winners and Coke Zero 400 winners.
• NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookies of the year drivers from 2001-2010.
“When you take a look at the field for this year’s Budweiser Shootout, it’s loaded with all-star caliber drivers,” said Robin Pemberton NASCAR, vice president of competition. “From former series champions to and Chase drivers, to the past 10 Rookie of the Year performers, to drivers who have had success at Daytona, we believe the fans are in store for a terrific and highly competitive event on a brand new acing surface.”
The 75-lap race will be run in two segments, 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 will be allowed to perform functions they would do on a normal pit stop in a regular Sprint Cup event. Work may be performed on pit road or in the garage. Changing of springs, shock absorbers or rear ends will not be permitted.
Starting positions will again be determined by a blind draw at the annual Budweiser Shootout Draw Party on Friday night, Feb. 11. The drawing for starting positions will be televised on the Speed Channel. My experience is that it’s a pretty lame TV event. You won’t miss a lot if you have other plans for Friday night.
Picking up where he left off last year, Scott Pruett ran the fastest laps last Friday to lead the opening day of the “Roar before the Rolex 24” in the car that dominated last year’s Daytona Prototype championship. The three-day session is giving competitors in the GRAND AM Rolex Sports Car series an opportunity to prepare for the 49th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, set for Jan. 29-30.
A fair sprinkling of Spring Cup drivers are scheduled to compete in this years Rolex 24 at Daytona, led by Jimmie Johnson.
“I’m excited for the race,” Johnson said. “Growing up I raced all types of vehicles. I do feel that driving the Daytona Proto type does help me grow as a drive.”
Joining Johnson from the Cup circuit will be Ganassi Racing drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray. A.J. Allmendinger is also scheduled to compete in this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. If you’re interested in the Rolex 24, the Speed Channel will have live coverage of a large part of the 24-hour event.