NASCAR Sprint Cup Bud Shootout 2011: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Grabs Pole

Hank EptonCorrespondent IFebruary 11, 2011

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 11:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, sits in his car in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway on February 11, 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Dale Earnhardt Jr. drew the pole position for the Bud Shootout NASCAR Sprint Cup invitational event set for Saturday night.

“I had several bottles to choose from still so it really was just the luck of the draw,” Earnhardt said after Friday night's draw to determine starting positions.

Earnhardt has won the event twice in 11 starts, posting victories in 2003 and 2008.

The 75 lap exhibition will feature a 25 lap run followed by an ten minute intermission before the 50 lap dash to the finish.

It has been won from the pole on three occasions. Darrell Waltrip did it in 1981, Bill Elliott in 1987 and Ken Schrader won wire to wire in 1989.

On Friday, speeds skyrocketed in advance of the event, with the combination of cool temperatures, the new track surface and the two car lockups enhancing speed.

Joey Logano posted the fastest speed of either practice session touring Daytona International Speedway at 203.087 mph in his Home Depot Toyota.

With the high speeds and the premium of getting the right partner to help get a driver to the front, Earnhardt didn't think starting from the pole was going to be an advantage.

“The race really can be won from any position so this really doesn’t change our strategy.”

Kevin Harvick, gunning for an unprecedented third consecutive Shootout crown, will start 18th in his Budweiser Chevy.

"It’s kind of like winning the home game with the Budweiser Shootout and Budweiser being on the car.”

The event has evolved over the years, beginning as a 50-mile sprint for pole winners from the previous season known as the Busch Clash to a Saturday night feature with multiple paths to eligibility.

For 2011, all drivers from the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup, past Sprint Cup champions, past Shootout winners, Daytona points race winners and Rookie of the Year winners from the past 10 years are eligible.

It has showcased as few as seven drivers in 1981 and as many as 28 in 2009.

Winning it hasn't necessarily been a good omen for the Daytona 500: on only five occasions in 32 years has the winner of the event gone on to win the 500 a week later.

It's been a little better at previewing the season champion. On seven occasions the winner of the Shootout has gone on to capture the points title.

The following is the complete lineup for the 33rd running of the event:

1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard/Amp Energy Chevrolet
2 Tony Stewart Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet
3 Carl Edwards Scotts ez Seed Ford
4 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota
5 Kasey Kahne Red Bull Toyota
6 Bobby Labonte Reese Towpower/Highland Toyota
7 Clint Bowyer Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
8 Ryan Newman Wix Filters Chevrolet
9 Derrike Cope Sta-Bil Toyota
10 Michael Waltrip NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
11 Greg Biffle 3M Ford
12 Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
13  Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
14 Jamie McMurray Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet
15 Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet
16 Kevin Conway Extenze Toyota
17 Kurt Busch Shell/Pennzoil Dodge
18 Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet
19 Matt Kenseth Crown Royal Black Ford
20 Mark Martin Chevrolet
21 Kyle Busch M & M's Toyota
22 Joey Logano Home Depot Toyota
23 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet
24 Regan Smith Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet