2008 Budweiser Shootout – Preview

Race: Budweiser Shootout
Track: Daytona International Speedway
Date: Saturday February 9, 2008
Time: 8:00 pm
Channel: FOX

Gentlemen, start your engines! We’ve all waited a long and painful
three months to hear these words, but on Saturday, your wait is over.
The 30th running of the Budweiser Shootout is gearing up to be one of
the most memorable in years for many reasons. This is the 50th
anniversary of the Great American Race, which is set to take place one
week from Sunday. Also, this is the introduction of the new cars to a
full-time schedule. The drivers will gain valuable knowledge by having
the privilege in running this preview of Daytona.

Now, the shootout is a bit different from any other race. Essentially, all of the pole winners from 2007 automatically get a spot in as well as
any previous winners of the shootout. This changes the number in the
field from year to year, but it is always a much less significant number
than the regular races, usually about half a regular field. The drivers
all look forward to this race because there are no points, just good old
fashion beatin’ and bangin’. The drivers go out there to win. There is
no other strategy. Don’t be surprised when you see Kenny Schrader
running up front next to Gordon. These guys are going to give it all
they’ve got. It’s a no holds bar kind of race.

The benefits to running in the shootout are essential to the drivers also. Especially this year, drivers are uncertain as to how the new
cars are going to handle in a draft with so many other cars on the
track. This will be a great opportunity for the drivers to get to know
their cars, their chassis, and the track. Any practice is valuable
information for the Great race coming up in a week and a half.

The format of the race has changed several times over the years, but the current format is relatively easy to understand. There are two segments
to the race. The first is a twenty lap race with a ten minute
intermission. After the intermission, the final segment consists of a
fifty lap shootout. NASCAR used to make a mandatory pit stop, but this
is now eliminated. Instead, they went ahead and decreased the size of
the fuel cells, forcing drivers to make a pit-stop anyway. Now during
the ten minute intermission, crews are allowed to make any changes that
they would be allowed to make during a regular pit stop including tire
changes. But officials need to keep a close eye on the teams as many
have tried to make unauthorized changes during the intermission on the

Here’s the lineup for this year:

Jeff Gordon
Ryan Newman
Jimmie Johnson
Clint Boywer
Kasey Kahne
Greg Biffle
Dave Blaney
Kurt Busch
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Carl Edwards
David Gilliland
Denny Hamlin
Jamie McMurray
Casey Mears
Reed Sorenson
Martin Truex Jr.
Michael Waltrip
J.J. Yeley
Tony Stewart
Mark Martin
Dale Jarrett
Bill Elliot
Ken Schrader

This is a 23 car field, the largest in shootout history. There are five
past shootout winners and four first-time runners. With so many guys
out there, this is definitely going to a good one to watch. In the
twenty-nine runnings of the Daytona 500, five times the winner of the
shootout proved to be the winner of the big one. Tony Stewart would
like to be that guy as he is the defending winner of this race.

Either way, stay tuned for what is turning out to be an exciting start
to the NASCAR season. The 30th running of the shootout and the 50th
running of the Daytona 500 are going to be more than just anniversaries
this year, in my opinion. Let’s kick back and watch it happen, y’all.

Boogity, boogity, boogity, let’s go racin’ boys!