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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