Tag:Bud Shootout
Posted on: February 18, 2012 11:40 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 9:26 am

Despite wrecks, drivers endorse return of packs

By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The pack is back.

And so were the wrecks.

Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout saw the return of pack racing that had been the norm at restrictor plate tracks like Daytona until the advent of the two car tandem, a style NASCAR claims a majority of fans detested.

So after spending the entire off-season trying to find a solution to break up the "love bug" racing including larger restrictor plates, smaller spoilers and cooling system changes, NASCAR hoped the old school packs would return.

They got their wish but it came with a major price in a 75-lap race that saw only a handful of cars finish without damage.

The Shootout is an "all-star" race but there weren't many stars still shining when the checkered flag finally flew over Kyle Busch's electrifying win over Tony Stewart.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick were just a few of the names who saw their nights end in the garage with battered race cars.

“Yeah, I think this is pretty much exactly like it was before the two-car tandem," said Kenseth. "This is kind of like what pack racing is, except we’re going quite a bit faster.  The car has quite a bit of grip and we’re going really fast, the closing rate is really fast, so it’s about what I expected.”  

Gordon, who led late in the going, was involved in one of the night's more spectacular crashes that sent him rolling down the front straightaway several times before finally ending up on his roof.

"I think that's the first time I've ever been upside down in twenty years," said Gordon. "It was wild and I can't say what we saw out there was completely unexpected. There was a lot of aggression and a lot of wild driving out there which is to be expected on a night like this when we have no points to deal with and just the goal of winning on our minds."

But despite the multitude of accidents that punctuated the night, the consensus from the garage was a positive one from drivers.

"It was definitely a lot more fun and you felt a lot more eager to be engaged in the race this way than in the two-car deal," said Stewart. "I actually had fun racing at Daytona again which I haven't had for a while, so I'm really, really appreciative to the work that NASCAR has done in the off-season and the test session and even after the test of the changes that they made to try to make it better for us out there.

"I don't know what the consensus is from everybody else, but I had more fun as a driver tonight than what we've had in the past."

Third place finisher Marcos Ambrose was also on board with being a fan of the return to the more traditional pack racing.

"I agree with Tony, what an incredible job NASCAR has done to get back to this style of racing," he said.  "I think all the drivers appreciate it and it’s definitely a lot more fun.  It’s more entertaining for the fans and more in control for the drivers.  Even though we crashed more tonight, you just feel like you’re in control of your own destiny a little more out there."

Even those drivers who didn't have positive results like Stewart or Ambrose were upbeat about the competition and also cognizant of the fact the exhibition Shootout is far from a points race, particularly next week's Daytona 500.

"This is the Bud Shootout," said pole sitter Martin Truex Jr., a victim of the race's carnage. "So the guys are gonna take a lot more chances than they will on Sunday. The racing was fund and it was a good show. I enjoyed myself."

So the competitors are for the most part happy. But what about the fans, the same ones NASCAR says to the tune of eighty percent "extremely disliked" the two car tandem based on surveys and fan councils? 

Whether the high speed demolition derby that was a by product of Saturday night's pack racing is an accepted replacement for the two car drafting phenomenon is now the question to be answered.

NASCAR is listening…..intently. 

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Posted on: December 14, 2011 2:50 pm

Bud Shootout lineup announced

Posted by Pete Pistone

From News Release

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In what could be the deepest and most talented field to date, NASCAR announced today the list of eligible competitors for the 2012 Budweiser Shootout.

The 34th annual season-opening event launches Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 18 with start time set for 8:10 p.m. FOX Sports and MRN Radio will broadcast live nationally. Criteria for the non-points race are based upon the following qualifications, with eligibility based on a driver having been active in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series during the 2011 season:

The highest ranked 25 competitors in 2011 Driver Points

Previous winners at Daytona, including the Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola, and Budweiser Shootout events

“The criteria for the 2012 Budweiser Shootout ensures race fans that the best NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers will battle for a coveted victory on the historic high banks,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “Throughout its long history, the Budweiser Shootout has produced plenty of fireworks on the track and race fans can expect another exciting star-studded night of racing as we kick off the new NASCAR season.”

“By taking the top 25 competitors in last year’s driver points and combine that with former race winners at Daytona, you have all the ingredients for an extremely deep and talented field of drivers for the 2012 Budweiser Shootout,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “When you take a look at the roster of drivers that this entails, I have to believe this is one of the most competitive fields that have ever been assembled for this event.”

The race distance will again be 75 laps (187.5 miles), consisting of two segments – 25 and 50 laps. Both green-flag laps and yellow-flag laps will count. Between segments there will be a 10-minute pit stop allowing teams to pit to change tires, add fuel and make normal chassis adjustments. Crews will be permitted to work on cars and will be allowed to perform functions they would do on a normal pit stop in a regular NASCAR Sprint Cup event. All work must be performed on pit road or in the garage. Changing of springs, shock absorbers or rear-ends will not be permitted.
Starting positions will again be determined by a blind-draw at the annual Budweiser Shootout Draw Party on Friday, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. on the SPEED stage in the Midway, outside Turn 4.

The Budweiser Shootout was first held in 1979 and was originally known as the Busch Clash. Kurt Busch is the defending race champion

Drivers eligible for the 2012 Budweiser Shootout include:

2011 Top 25 Driver Points

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

A.J. Allmendinger

Greg Biffle

Paul Menard

Martin Truex Jr.

Marcos Ambrose

Jeff Burton

Juan Pablo Montoya

Mark Martin

David Ragan

Joey Logano

Brian Vickers


Others (criteria in parentheses)

Bill Elliott (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400, Budweiser Shootout)

Geoff Bodine (Daytona 500, Budweiser Shootout)

Derrike Cope (Daytona 500)

Michael Waltrip (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400)

Jamie McMurray (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400)

Trevor Bayne (Daytona 500)

Terry Labonte (Budweiser Shootout)

Ken Schrader (Budweiser Shootout)

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Posted on: February 12, 2011 11:54 pm

Audio tracks: Bud Shootout

Listen to the post-race news conferences of the top three finishers of the Bud Shootout.

Kurt Busch post-race news conference (21 minutes)

Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman post-race news conference (20 minutes, 30 seconds)

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