DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – AJ Allmendinger’s first career pole with Penske Racing last weekend at Kansas Speedway earned him his third career starting berth in next year’s Daytona Shootout at Daytona International Speedway.

Allmendinger becomes the 17th driver to lock up a spot in the star-studded field of top NASCAR drivers that will compete in the fan-favorite event that kicks off Budweiser Speedweeks 2013.

Allmendinger toured the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway in the No. 22 AAA Dodge at a speed of 175.993 mph to earn the pole.

“To get a pole like this and get in the Shootout and just keep building the momentum, it’s a big deal today,” said Allmendinger, who is in his first season at Penske Racing.

Eligibility requirements for next season’s Daytona Shootout return to its roots with the field consisting of pole winners and past Shootout winners who have attempted to qualify for at least one race during the 2012 season.

Allmendinger has made two previous Daytona Shootout starts, finishing fifth in 2009 and 12th earlier this year.

2012 Pole Winners:
Greg Biffle
Carl Edwards
Denny Hamlin
Kasey Kahne
Mark Martin
Martin Truex Jr.
AJ Allmendinger
Past Shootout champions:
Kyle Busch
Kurt Busch
Kevin Harvick
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Tony Stewart
Jimmie Johnson
Jeff Gordon
Bill Elliott
Terry Labonte
Ken Schrader

The stars of NASCAR return to Daytona International Speedway on July 6-7, 2012.  Tickets to the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, featuring a special hour-long pre-race concert by multiplatinum, Grammy-winning superstars Train, and the Subway Jalapeno 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or online at

Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter ( and Facebook ( for all the latest news all season long.