NASCAR announced today that there would be changes to the season-opening Budweiser Shootout at Daytona in 2010.
Vice President of Operations Robin Pemberton announced that the criteria to be eligible for the event would be different from 2009. This past year, the top six drivers from each manufacturer plus one "wild card" of each brand would be allowed to race. That left a field of 28 drivers, with some names on the outside of the field.
This season, more emphasis was put on success at the Daytona International Speedway in determining the lineup.
“In our discussions with the track, we thought by placing an additional emphasis on the
drivers who had performed well at Daytona over the years would create an even more
compelling element for the fans to get excited about at the beginning of the season,” said Pemberton.
The qualifications for the event are as follows, based on a driver competing within the last two seasons:
- The 12 drivers who made the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup
- Past NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions
- Past Budweiser Shootout champions
- Past Daytona 500 and Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola champions
- The reigning Raybestos Rookie of the Year
The new qualifications will allow drivers who would have not met the criteria from last year eligible for the race.
Drivers like Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Michael Waltrip, and Matt Kenseth are now able to race in the exhibition race.
Pemberton says the changes will make the event bigger and better for the fans by putting together a strong lineup of the top drivers in the series.
The Budweiser Shootout format will not change from the 2009 event. The race will be 75 laps, split into two segments of 25 and 50 laps. Green and yellow-flag laps will count, with the green-white-checkered rule in effect.
There will be a 10-minute break after the first 25 laps so that teams can work on the cars. Normal pit stop procedures will be allowed, such as changing tires, adding fuel, and making chassis adjustments. Crews will also be allowed to do any work that would be done for a regular NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
All work must either be done on pit road or in the garage. Changing of the rear springs or the rear end will not be allowed.
As in many previous years, determining the lineup for the race will be done by a blind draw. The draw will be on Feb. 4 at the Budweiser Shootout Draw Party. It will be held at the SPEED stage, which is on the midway just outside turn four.
The 32nd Budweiser Shootout will be Saturday, Feb. 6, with the green flag set for 8:10 PM on FOX.