DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In what could be the deepest and most talented field to date, NASCAR announced today the list of eligible competitors for the 2012 Budweiser Shootout.
The 34th annual season-opening event launches Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 18 with start time set for 8:10 p.m. FOX Sports and MRN Radio will broadcast live nationally. Criteria for the non-points race are based 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 Daytona, including the Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola, and Budweiser Shootout events
“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,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “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.”
“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.”
“By taking the top 25 competitors in last year’s driver points and combine 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 that 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 will again be 75 laps (187.5 miles), consisting of 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 pit 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 NASCAR Sprint Cup event. All work must 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, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. on the SPEED stage in the Midway, outside Turn 4.
The Budweiser Shootout was first held in 1979 and was originally known as the Busch Clash. Kurt Busch is the defending race champion.
Tickets for the Budweiser Shootout start at $39, with special advance pricing available for tickets purchased in January, and 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.
Drivers eligible for the 2012 Budweiser Shootout include:
2011 Top 25 Driver Points
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Martin Truex Jr.
Juan Pablo Montoya
Others (criteria in parentheses)
Bill Elliott (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400, Budweiser Shootout)
Geoff Bodine (Daytona 500, Budweiser Shootout)
Derrike Cope (Daytona 500)
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)