NASCAR announced the driver lineup for the 2012 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway, which features an expanded field.
The revised qualification lineup will feature the top 25 drivers from the 2011 Sprint Cup Series points standings, along with prior Daytona winners in any NASCAR event – the Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400 and previous Shootouts.
That means drivers such as Trevor Bayne and Jamie McMurray, the last two Daytona 500 winners who were outside the top 25 in Sprint Cup points in 2011 (Bayne was ineligible), are in the field. Meanwhile, defending Shootout champion Kurt Busch is searching for a ride following his dismissal from Penske Racing, and has been linked to several other teams in the paddock.
This year's running occurs Saturday, Feb. 18, at 8:10 p.m. ET for the 34th running of the event, and will remain 75 laps broken into 25- and 50-lap segments with both green and yellow flag laps counting. Starting positions will be determined by a blind draw.
Drivers eligible for the 2012 Shootout include:
2011 Top 25 Driver Points
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Martin Truex Jr.
Others (criteria in parentheses)
Bill Elliott (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400, Shootout)
Geoff Bodine (Daytona 500, 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 (Shootout)
Ken Schrader (Shootout)