Kurt Busch drew the lucky flag out of the Budweiser bottle to earn the Budweiser Shootout pole position during Thursday night’s draw party at the SPEED Stage located just outside of Daytona International Speedway.
Busch, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge for Penske Racing, will be making his fifth career start in Saturday’s Budweiser Shootout, a non-points All-Star race that features the previous season’s pole winners and past Budweiser Shootout winners.
The Budweiser Shootout will feature a record field of 23 drivers battling at DIS for the first time in NASCAR’s new winged car (formerly known as the Car of Tomorrow).
“I think it’s going to be an interesting race,” Busch said. “I’m glad to be a part of it because you get to run with a tight group of competiton. These guys are tough and you get to learn with this new car.
“Who knows? I mean I could be 23rd on the first lap just because of how violent the draft could be with the car. We’ve had packs of eight, maybe 10, but now we’ve got 23 that are going to hold it to the floor so we’ll see what happens.”
Busch is geared up about the extra track time during DIRECTV Speedweeks.
“I think it’s great,” Busch said. “To come up with a unique way to start the season and to knock the rust off and to get out there before the rest of the field, there are only 23 of us that get the special treatment. You got to soak it up while you can.
“I’ve been out of it a few years and you do miss a lot of track time. It’s good to get out there first and get some homework knocked out.”
Pulling the outside pole is Mark Martin, who is driving the No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc. Rounding out the top five were Michael Waltrip, Jamie McMurray and David Gilliland.
American rock band Sister Hazel will perform three pre-race songs, the National Anthem as well as a 60-minute post-race concert from the Entertainment Stage next to the Budweiser Bistro in the Sprint FANZONE.
Sprint FANZONE and hospitality passes will permit fans to view the pre-race concert from the tri-oval area along pit road and all Budweiser Shootout ticket holders will be able to attend Sister Hazel’s post-race concert.
The 45th annual ARCA 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series at Daytona will kick off the day of racing at 4:15 p.m. The 2007 ARCA 200 winner Bobby Gerhart will be gunning for his record fifth win against a stout field that includes 2007 Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti and former Formula One driver Scott Speed.
Tickets to the 45th annual ARCA 200 and the 30th annual Budweiser Shootout on Saturday, Feb. 9 as well as other DIRECTV Speedweeks events are available online at www.racetickets.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
Children 12 and under with a paid adult are admitted free to the infield (not including the Sprint FANZONE) and the unreserved grandstands for the Budweiser Shootout and ARCA 200.
30th annual Budweiser Shootout starting lineup
1. Kurt Busch, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge
2. Mark Martin, No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet
3. Michael Waltrip, No. 55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
4. Jamie McMurray, No. 26 Crown Royal/Cask No. 16 Ford
5. David Gilliland, No. 38 freecreditreport.com Ford
6. Reed Sorenson, No. 41 Target/Polaroid Dodge
7. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard/Mountain Dew/AMP Energy Chevrolet
8. Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge
9. Martin Truex, Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet
10.Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota
11.J.J. Yeley, No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota
12.Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota
13.Ken Schrader, No. 49 Qtrax.com Dodge
14.Bill Elliott, No. 21 Air Force Ford
15.Dale Jarrett, No. 44 UPS Toyota
16.Casey Mears, No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet
17.Greg Biffle, No. 16 3M Ford
18.Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet
19.Dave Blaney, No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota
20.Carl Edwards, No. 99 Office Depot
21.Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet
22.Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet
23.Ryan Newman, No. 12 alltel Dodge