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Budweiser Shootout Preview
-Charlie Young

After nearly three months of waiting for some real racing to start, the first race of the season, the Budwieser Shootout is almost here. With it, the race brings a new format, a new name (formerly Bud Shootout), new faces, and new rules.

The new format includes a race length of 70 laps, over the previous 25. A mandatory pit-stop is still required, and it can not be made under caution. Finally, the race must be finished under green even if the length of the race must be extended.

Last year's Shootout ended with a bang

The new format also states that past winners of the Bud Shootout, or Busch Clash as it used to be called, will also be included in the race. It won't be just pole winners from the previous season anymore. That means that drivers like Dale Earnhardt, Mark Martin, Geoffrey Bodine, and Bill Elliott will have a starting position even though they didn't win a pole position in 2000. Bill Elliott's starting positions will be of great importance to the Dodge camp, because it will be the first race situation for their car before the Gatorade 125 mile qualifying races.

The new rules not only include the new aero rules (taller spoiler, roof strip) but according to rumors that Ray Evernham has heard NASCAR might increase the size of the restrictor plate to be used at Daytona for the rest of the week. "Like I said, it's a rumor that has been going around, but nothing would surprise me," Evernham said.

Not to mention that the winner of the Budweiser Shootout will take home $200,000. That's a whole lot more than Dale Jarrett got last year for winning. He only got $33,360.

Along with the 5 past winners, 14 other drivers are eligible for the race. Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Jeremy Mayfield, Joe Nemechek, Steve Park, Ricky Rudd, Mike Skinner, Tony Stewart, Rusty Wallace, and Ted Musgrave (by drawing of fastest second-round qualifiers) will fill up the majority of the field.


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