NASCAR is now just days away from the start of another season, which means it is days away from the Daytona 500 as well. But the ceremonies at Daytona are already well under way, in preparation for the Great American Race. Tonight, hundreds of thousands of NASCAR fans get to see some of their favorite drivers for the first time in months, in the 2009 Budweiser Shootout.
The Budweiser Shootout is an exhibition race, with some odd rules, that begins the week of ceremonies and preparation for the Daytona 500. The top six drivers from last season for each of the four NASCAR manufacturers will compete, as well as four wild cards. This gives the 2009 Budweiser Shootout a record-setting field of 28 cars.
The 2009 Budweiser Shootout starting positions are chosen by random selection, which is why largely unknown Paul Menard of Ford is in the pole position. However, Menard got the more infamous title of being in the first wreck of the NASCAR season, as he got into a crash during a final Budweiser Shootout practice on Friday. But the car will be fixed in time for Menard to stay on the pole.
This race is an exhibition and counts for nothing in points, or in Daytona 500 positioning. However, the Budweiser Shootout is a pre-season race for fans that have waited since November for NASCAR action again. The 2009 Budweiser Shootout gives them their first taste before Daytona 500 qualifying.
The 2009 Budweiser Shootout has made a few more changes this season. The total laps for the race are up from 70 to 75. As usual, the Budweiser Shootout will be run in two segments, with a 10 minute pit stop break in between. The first segment will run for 25 laps, with the second lasting 50 laps.
Originally, drivers who won the pole for races in the previous season could participate in the Budweiser Shootout. But that rule resulted in less and less drivers competing each season. The Budweiser Shootout recently allowed the top drivers from each manufacturer to go instead, but it got confusing when drivers changed teams.
Now with these new rules, more drivers will get to be in the 2009 Budweiser Shootout. However, this may take away the original appeal of the Budweiser Shootout in the first place. Richard Petty, in particular, has argued that the Shootout should only have between 10 and 12 cars.
The 2009 Budweiser Shootout will air on FOX starting at 8 p.m. Eastern. After that, the road to this year’s Daytona 500 begins, leading up to the big race on February 15.
Roto Times- “Cup Preview- Budweiser Shootout” www.rototimes.com/article/2009/2/Cup-Preview-Budweiser-Shootout
Suite 101- “2009 Budweiser Shootout” nascar.suite101.com/article.cfm/2009_budweiser_shootout
The News-Press- “Petty says Shootout has too many cars” news-press.com/article/20090207/SPORTS/902070417