DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 15, 2009) – The 31st annual Budweiser Shootout, the prestigious non-points All-Star event that kicks off DIRECTV Speedweeks and the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, has amended its new format to increase the size of the field from 24 to 28 cars.
Each manufacturer will now have a wild-card entry that will highlight the manufacturers’ involvement in NASCAR in the 75-lap All-Star event scheduled for Saturday night, Feb. 7.
As announced last August, the star-studded lineup will consist of the top six teams from each manufacturer, based on the final 2008 car owner points. Eligibility is based on owners competing in this event with the same manufacturer as 2008. The new wrinkle calls for each manufacturer to be able to enter a seventh car, or “wild card” entry based on the following criteria:
· Any owner outside of the top six in year end 2008 owners’ points whose driver is a past NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion that attempted to qualify for all of the 2008 events (only one position will be filled per manufacturer and will be based on the most recent past champion per manufacturer)
· If an owner/manufacturer does not have a past champion driver, the next highest eligible owner outside the top six in year end 2008 owners’ points from each manufacturer will be eligible to compete in the event.
“This additional change gives race fans four more reasons to witness the Budweiser Shootout in person,” Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig said. “The addition of the four cars takes the size of the field and the excitement level for race fans for the new NASCAR season to an all-time high.”
“As race day drew nearer, everyone agreed that amending the format in this manner could only enhance what is already one of the great season-opening exhibitions in all of sports,” said Dan McHugh, vice president of media, sponsorship and activation, Anheuser-Busch. “We hope the new format will give fans the best racing possible to start the new year.”
As previously announced, the race distance will be increased from 70 laps to 75 (187.5 miles) on the 2.5-mile tri-oval. The race will have two segments, of 25 and 50 laps. Both green- and yellow-flag laps will count.
Between segments, there will be a 10-minute pit stop at which time teams will pit and may elect to change tires, add fuel and make normal chassis adjustments.
Starting positions will be determined by a draw at the annual Budweiser Shootout Draw Party on Thursday night, Feb. 5, on the SPEED stage in the Midway, outside Turn 4.
Popular country music star Dierks Bentley, whose latest album “Feel That Fire” will be released on Feb. 3, will perform before thousands of race fans before and after the Budweiser Shootout.
Bentley, who previously performed a pre-race and post-race concert for the 2007 Budweiser Shootout, will sing three of his hit songs from the Pre-Race Stage before the start of the Budweiser Shootout. The performance of his latest hit, “Feel That Fire.” will be carried live on FOX Sports as part of the festivities. After the checkered flag drops, Bentley will perform a 60-minute post-race concert from the Sprint FANZONE Entertainment Stage.
Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race access holders will be able to view the pre-race concert from the tri-oval grass while all ticket holders will have access to the post-race concert, which will start in the Sprint FANZONE approximately 30-minutes after the end of the race.
Tickets for the Budweiser Shootout as well as other DIRECTV Speedweeks events are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
As of today, cars eligible to compete in the 2009 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona would be as follows (using 2008 car numbers):
Chevrolet: Dodge: Toyota: Ford:
48 9 11 99
29 12 20 16
07 2 18 17
31 43 83 6
24 19 44 26
88 7 55 28
70* 10** 22** 38**
* past champion (Tony Stewart)
** based on seventh highest finishing position in 2008 owners’ points