Tag:Budweiser Shootout
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:41 am

Budweiser moves sponsorship to include Duel

By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Duel at Daytona qualifying races will get a new name and sponsor beginning in 2013.

Budweiser has changed its sponsorship agreement with Daytona International Speedway and will now sponsor the pair of traditional 150-mile events that set the field for the Daytona 500.

The Budweiser Duel at Daytona is the new official name of the Thursday races with the brewery replacing Gatorade as sponsor of the event.

Beginning with the 2013 season, Budweiser will also become the official title sponsor of Speedweeks – the ten-day stretch of stock-car races from the Shootout to the Daytona 500.

The decision means the Shootout, which had carried Anheuser-Busch sponsorship since its inception, will have a new sponsor beginning next season.

"We've enjoyed a long relationship with Budweiser on that event and it's been great," said Daytona International Speedway president Joie Chitwood III. "But we've worked out an arrangement to enhance the company's partnership with the race track and in the process it's opened up an opportunity to bring a new sponsor to the Shootout beginning next year. We're talking to a few companies who have shown interest and the good news is after the race we had here last Saturday night, it's great timing to showcase the event to potential sponsors."

Daytona Speedweeks

Posted on: February 19, 2012 12:04 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 12:05 pm

Shootout returns to its roots for 2013

By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - NASCAR has decided to take a page from its past and bring the Budweiser Shootout eligibility rules back to a more elite field of drivers.

Beginning in 2013 drivers eligible for the annual preseason exhibition race will be limited to pole winners from this year's races as well as former Shootout winners who have attempted to qualify for at least one race during the campaign.

The change brings the race back to where it began from 1979 through 2008 and NASCAR hopes will it will return more emphasis to weeky qualifying as drivers shoot for a chance to make the February Shootout.

“Fans have expressed their desire to see this event return to its original eligibility rules,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “We listened and decided it would be best to return to the eligibility rules of years past adding further meaning to pole qualifying for each NASCAR Sprint Cup race.”

The announcement comes just prior to Sunday's Daytona 500 qualifying session with the pole winner becoming the first driver eligible for the 2013 Budweiser Shootout.   

Last season, 18 different drivers won a pole.

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 9:56 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 9:57 pm

Martin Truex Jr. draws Shootout pole position

By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Michael Waltrip Racing's Martin Truex Jr. will lead the field to green in Saturday night's running of the Budweiser Shootout.

Truex drew the number one position in the blind draw held by the 25 drivers who will compete in the annual exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway.

Kyle Busch will start outside the front row in the 75-lap event that includes an opening 25-lap segment and a 50-lap finish.


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

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 8:14 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 8:15 pm

Rain ends second Shootout practice

By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Friday night's second scheduled Budweiser Shootout practice session was cut short due to rain showers.

The scheduled one hour session was derailed early when rain his the area only a few minutes into the practice. While NASCAR tried to dry the track, those efforts ended in short order and the rest of the session was aborted.

Jamie McMurray led the brief session with a speed of 197.698 miles per hour. Evening rain shortened Friday’s second practice for Sprint Cup drivers entered in Saturday’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway.

Drivers ran only a few minutes into the scheduled one-hour practice before a heavy mist forced NASCAR to red-flag the session. Jet dryers circled the track for a while, but officials soon cancelled the rest of the session.

Jamie McMurray led the brief session with a speed of 197.698 miles per hour. Juan Pablo Montoya, McMurray’s Earnhardt Ganassi Racing teammate, was second at 197.694.

The practice was the last before Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout, a 75-lap race that will mark the first competition of the 2012 season. 

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 6:03 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 6:18 pm

Multi-car accident mars first Shootout practice

By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The opening practice session of Speedweeks didn't go very well for a number of drivers.

A multi-car accident broke out in the first Budweiser Shootout practice Friday afternoon that included reigning series champion Tony Stewart and Penske Racing teammates Brad Keselowski and A.J. Allmendinger.

Stewart made contact with the rear end of Kurt Busch's car as the field raced through turn three setting off a chain reaction accident in its wake. Keselowski and Allmendinger both suffered heavy damage in the melee that swept up Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon and Denny Hamlin before it was over.

Drivers tried both tandem drafting and pack style racing during the session as they prepared for both Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout as well as next week's Daytona 500.

Matt Kenseth topped the practice with a lap of 201.760 mph. Jeff Burton was at 201.739 and David Ragan next at 200.151.

A second practice session is slated for later Friday night.

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 2:28 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 2:50 pm

Shootout to provide gauge of Daytona rule changes

By Pete Pistone

  Matt Kenseth, Driver Of The #17 Best Buy Ford, Leads
(Whether the rule changes will result in more pack racing or the return of tandem drafting remains to be seen)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - There's money and glory on the line but that won't be the most important thing in Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout.

The opportunity for drivers to finally put the many rule changes and modifications NASCAR implemented after last month's Preseason Thunder test into race mode is what's on everyone's mind.

After three days of testing a variety of restrictor plate measurements, spoiler heights, spring packages and cooling system tweaks, NASCAR landed on what for now is considered a suitable package to officially open Speedweeks. In an effort to if not eliminate at least limit the use of tandem drafting, which the sanctioning body found to be an extremely disliked practice by a majority of fans, the rash of changes were introduced to teams.

But while practicing during a test is one thing, being on track during racing conditions is quite another.

"I'm really not sure what to expect," said Greg Biffle. "My guess is you'll see a combination of the big packs that NASCAR seems to want us to return to and then some use of the tandem when the time is right."

The exhibition race will give drivers a chance to try and get a handle on what to expect when next Thursday's Gatorade Duel qualifying races roll around as well as when the green flag flies in the Daytona 500.

"There's no reason to thin the tandem will completely disappear," said defending Budweiser Shootout winner Kurt Busch, who makes his debut with Phoenix Racing in Saturday night's race. "But I do think based on what we saw during the test we won't see it all race long either in the Shootout or the 500."

Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout format remains unchanged from last year with a 25 lap opening segment followed by a ten minute break and then a 50-lap dash to the checkered flag.

Criteria has been tweaked to fill out the 25-car field to include:

• Drivers finishing among the top 25 in the 2011 championship driver points

• Past Daytona 500 and Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola champions and winners of Shootout events. 

Following the first segment, a 10-minute “pit stop” gives crews the opportunity to make normal adjustments to their cars. Other notes: All work must be done on pit road or in the garage; teams may not change springs, shocks or rear ends; all green- and yellow-flag laps in both segments will count. Following the 10-minute “pit stop,” the event’s second segment remains a 50-lap sprint for the win.

Those entered in Saturday’s race: Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, AJ Allmendinger, Greg Biffle, Paul Menard, Martin Truex Jr., Marcos Ambrose, Jeff Burton, Juan Pablo Montoya, David Ragan, Joey Logano, Michael Waltrip and Jamie McMurray

In addition to Busch, other drivers will be making their debuts with new teams including Bowyer with Michael Waltrip Racing, Kahne with Hendrick Motorsports, Ragan with Front Row Motorsports and Allmendinger with Penske Racing. Allmendinger already has one 2012 Speedweeks victory in last month’s GRAND-AM Sports Car Series Rolex 24. Kurt Busch is the defending champion of the Shootout.

Drivers will draw for their starting positions in a ceremony held Friday night to set the lineup.

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 3:18 pm

Budweiser Shootout entry list released

By Pete Pistone

Here are the eligible drivers for Saturday night's running of the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. There are severakl drivers eligible for the exhibition race that currently do not have rides for th eevent:

2012 Budweiser Shootout Entry List

1 - Jamie McMurray
2 - Brad Keselowski
5 - Kasey Kahne
9 - Marcos Ambrose
11 - Denny Hamlin
14 - Tony Stewart
15 - Clint Bowyer
16 - Greg Biffle
17 - Matt Kenseth
18 - Kyle Busch
20 - Joey Logano
22 - AJ Allmendinger
24 - Jeff Gordon
27 - Paul Menard
29 - Kevin Harvick
31 - Jeff Burton
34 - David Ragan
39 - Ryan Newman
42 - Juan Pablo Montoya
48 - Jimmie Johnson
51 - Kurt Busch
55 - Michael Waltrip
56 - Martin Truex Jr.
88 - Dale Earnhardt Jr.
99 - Carl Edwards 

Eligible but yet not entered: 

Mark Martin
Brian Vickers
Bill Elliott
Geoff Bodine
Derrike Cope
Trevor Bayne
Terry Labonte
Ken Schrader 

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Posted on: February 12, 2011 10:16 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2011 12:24 am

Two-car tandems, speeds highlight 2011 Shootout

(Getty Images)

Posted By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The new-look Daytona International Speedway produced the first exciting race of a new era Saturday night when Kurt Busch scored a thrilling victory in the Budweiser Shootout .

Busch darted to the lead in a wild dash to the checkered flag and was able to nose his Penske Racing Dodge ahead at the finish.

In reality it wasn't as close as it looked since Denny Hamlin was ruled to be below the yellow "out of bounds" line when he made his pass for the top spot and was subsequently black flagged by NASCAR.

But that gave Busch the win over defending Daytona 500 champion Jamie McMurray , who had worked with Busch in one of the two-car tandems that proved to be so successful Saturday night.

Despite the thrilling ending, Saturday night's race will be remembered for two things - the two-car tangos that the field immediately broke into during every green flag run and the high speeds that at times topped 206 mph.

The two-car draft was expected after what a new racing surface did to Talladega a few years ago. Since Daytona's sister restrictor plate track received a brand new asphalt topping, the hot ticket has been for two drivers to hook up nose to tail and speed around the race track. When Daytona's old asphalt gave way to the new surface, the tandem style of racing went on display when the teams tested during December and January.

But not until Saturday night's race was the phenomenon truly depicted with at times seven or eight packs of two running behind one another on the track.

"It's a lot different from the big groups and packs of cars we used to have here," said Dale Earnhardt Jr . who started from the pole and ran near the front of the field until getting swept up in a six car accident. "It was a lot of fun and I liked it. But it does take some getting used to."

Whether fans like this new plate racing style over the sometimes insane four-wide packs of cars running side-by-side in the draft remains to be seen. Thursday's Gatorade Duel twin 150-mile qualifying races will most likely see the same kind of style seen Saturday night with both events being relatively short dashes versus next week's 500-mile grind.

The high speeds may not have another chance to see the light of day. NASCAR officials will most certainly continue to review the issue and the possibility of a smaller restrictor plate put into play by Thursday or next Sunday is very real. While the drivers seem comfortable racing at 205 or 206 mph it's the possibility of what might happen when a car gets sideways or backwards at that rate of speed that has some concerned.

"Keeping these cars on the ground has to be NASCAR's number one priority," said Ryan Newman .

Qualifying for the Daytona 500 is now set for Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET.

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