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NASCAR: the bud shootout at daytona

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posted on Feb, 11 2005 @ 07:42 PM
tomorrow nite will be the first time that the nascar boys take to the track in anger this year, this is a non points race and DOES NOT count in the fantasy league, but it usually is a great race and begins the buildup to the 500 a week from sunday

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Finally, after all the testing and preparation, Nextel Cup stock cars return to the track for an actual race.

The Budweiser Shootout kicks off Speedweeks 2005 at Daytona International Speedway, running a 70-lap non-points race Saturday night for last year's pole winners and previous winners of the Shootout.

Twenty drivers are eligible to go for the $211,500 first prize and a chance at the favorite's role for the Daytona 500 a little more than a week later."And you'd think for such an important race, drivers would know what's going on.

But ask a few of them about the format, and you'll get puzzled looks.

"What did they do to change it?" Dale Earnhardt Jr. wondered Thursday. "Did they add laps or something? Aw, man."

Well, the format was altered from 25 laps to 70 laps four years ago, but who's counting?

The 70 laps will be split into two segments of 20 and 50 laps, with a break in between to work on the cars.

And since 50 laps on one tank of fuel is impossible, the second segment will include a pit stop.

Of course, some of the drivers don't know that.

"I'll be honest with you," Jeff Gordon said. "They've changed the Shootout so many times that I don't even have any idea how many laps it is or how many pit stops there are. I don't have a clue, and I don't want to know until it's finalized."

Well, it is finalized.

But apparently Gordon and teammate Brian Vickers have talked about the format. Or maybe they haven't.

"I have no idea," said Vickers, making his first Shootout start. "I just know it's Daytona, and it will be wide open."

That's true. Since the Shootout is a non-points race, drivers are more likely to make a risky move than if it were a points event.

And most teams will be using their Daytona 500 backup car, so tearing up a car in the Shootout is less of a big deal.

"We're going to put the best car out there we can, and then I'll talk to the guys on Saturday sometime and we'll figure it all out," Gordon said. "But I think it's going to be pretty much business as usual.

"It's a great event. It's fun and exciting. For those of us who are in it, I think it's a bit of an advantage to get a little bit of extra drafting practice and to get comfortable with what's happening on Thursday."

Thursday is when the Gatorade Duel is held, setting the order for the 500. The cars used in the Duel aren't the same as the Shootout, but there is something to be learned.

"The Bud Shootout really won't cross over but it gets you ready for the Duel and the 500," Jimmie Johnson said. "I think there is a small advantage to being in the Shootout, if you go out and work on your setup a little bit.

"You also have a chance to get on the track. It never fails you that halfway into the 500 something comes to you that you forgot about but wanted to remember. So you get a head start."

And it's a fun head start, too.

"The Bud Shootout is going to be a unique experience," Vickers said. "Any race that you can run at this level without points is fun. You can go out there wide open and have fun. It says a lot to be in it period."

It says a lot to win it, too, as Dale Jarrett did last year.

"It is to the extent that a lot of the guys who are in the Shootout are the guys you're going to watch for in the 500," Jarrett said. "I think that the Shootout gives you an idea as to what to expect from the usual suspects, but it isn't necessarily a precursor for who will win the Daytona 500."

Jarrett ended up 10th in the 500 last year but has said winning the Shootout wasn't a sign of his team's strength.

"Obviously, we didn't have the fastest car in that race last year, but I was able to put our car in front of what was probably the fastest car at the end, which was Dale Jr.'s car," Jarrett said.

"So that helped us win that race. The win certainly was great considering the year we'd had in 2003, so it was a great confidence booster for the team."

Any win is a good way to lift a team's spirits, and any time drivers get on a track, they're going to do anything they can to win.

That'll be the case Saturday night, too.

"We're going to go for it," said Kasey Kahne, another Shootout rookie. "Our Dodge Charger is going to be better. I'm looking forward to it. I think we have a great car that will be good in the Shootout and the 150s and the 500.

"We're going to do whatever it takes to get to the front in the Shootout. We'll definitely do whatever we need to to get to the front."

posted on Feb, 11 2005 @ 07:45 PM
here is the entry list for tomorrows race

Pos. Car Driver Make Sponsor Speed Time Behind
1 88 Dale Jarrett Ford UPS - - -
2 16 Greg Biffle Ford National Guard - - -
3 39 Bill Elliott Dodge Coors - - -
4 25 Brian Vickers Chevrolet GMAC - - -
5 49 Ken Schrader Dodge Schwan's Home Service - - -
6 97 Kurt Busch Ford Crown Royal - - -
7 12 Ryan Newman Dodge ALLTEL - - -
8 20 Tony Stewart Chevrolet The Home Depot - - -
9 21 Ricky Rudd Ford Motorcraft - - -
10 19 Jeremy Mayfield Dodge Dodge Dealers/UAW - - -
11 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont - - -
12 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Budweiser - - -
13 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Dodge Dealers/UAW - - -
14 6 Mark Martin Ford Kraft - Guess Who's Got The Groceries - - -
15 2 Rusty Wallace Dodge Miller Lite - - -
16 01 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet U.S. Army - - -
17 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's - - -
18 41 Casey Mears Dodge Target - - -
19 18 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet Interstate Batteries - - -
20 193 Geoffrey Bodine Chevrolet Global Industrial Contractors

posted on Feb, 12 2005 @ 08:13 AM
Tempers flaring as NASCAR Speedweeks opens

February 11, 2005
By Bruce Martin SportsTicker Contributing Editor

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Ticker) One of the shortest offseasons of any professional sport came to an end Friday as the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series returned to action at Daytona International Speedway.

The 20 drivers that will participate in Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout competed in two practice sessions that included a few on-track incidents and at least one temper flare-up.

Casey Mears and Ricky Rudd were competing in the second practice session under the lights at the 2 1/2-mile oval when they collided on the backstretch. The damage to Mears' Dodge Charger was minor, but when the young driver approached Rudd in the garage area to ask what happened, emotions boiled over.

Michael "Fatback" McSwain, Rudd's crew chief, stepped between the drivers and got in Mears' face. The two were quickly separated, but it was obvious that just two hours into the official start of the season, the pressure to perform already is at a fever pitch.

"Ricky was cool when I went to apologize, but he (McSwain) needs to calm down a little bit," Mears said. "Stuff happens. You don't try to make mistakes, and you need to calm down when stuff like that happens. I came over to apologize and he decided to be all upset about it."

Hopefully, the unseasonably cooler temperatures will chill out the drivers when Saturday night's 70-lap race begins at 8 p.m. EST.

Defending race champion Dale Jarrett and will start on the pole in a Ford Taurus. The 20-car starting lineup was determined by a drawing Thursday night.

Jarrett will start alongside Greg Biffle's Ford. Bill Elliott starts third in a Dodge flanked by Brian Vickers' Chevrolet Monte Carlo in the All-Star special event that includes the pole winners from last season.

There are no Nextel Cup points awarded for this race. Defending series champion Kurt Busch starts sixth in a Ford. Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. will line up up 12th in a Chevrolet, alongside four-time series champion Jeff Gordon's Chevy.

Mears' Dodge will be repaired in time for Saturday's race. He tried to explain what happened on the track Friday night.

"I thought I was clear and I wasn't. I came down on him," Mears said. "Fortunately, nothing bad happened. His car has a little ding and our car is OK. It was just a timing error on my part. I had the momentum to go by and I thought I got cleared to go back and pick up the draft. It was my fault, and it was my mistake, but everybody is OK.

McSwain did not comment on the situation, but Rudd accepted Mears' apology and is ready to move on.

"Casey came over and apologized," Rudd said. "I guess he made a mistake, and it's very easy to make a mistake when you're running three-wide like that. It's pretty intense. I'd say he slipped up and made a mistake and I guess we're lucky the damage isn't worse than what it is. These front fenders are so sensitive. We did get our right front fender banged a little bit."

The engine in Kasey Kahne's Dodge Charger blew up in the first practice session in front of a pack of other cars. None of the other drivers were involved in the incident despite driving through oil and other fluids from Kahne's engine.

It sent Kahne's Ray Evernham Motorsports team back to work to get another engine installed for Saturday night's race.

"I was in a heavy pack, there were two cars in front of me and the rest were behind," Kahne explained. "I just stayed up high and hoped everybody would go low. Everybody did. It was pretty easy to miss. I didn't move around much. I just stayed up by the wall and stayed out of the way."

Earnhardt had a tire problem in the first practice session when a rear tire chunked apart, but he was not involved in a crash.

Joe Nemechek's Chevrolet was the fastest in both practice sessions. His fast lap in session No. 2 was 191.290 miles per hour after clocking 191.083 mph in the first session.

"My car is driving great," Nemechek said. "The car is fast. I've been able to pass high and low. But it's driving right, and that's the most important thing for this race."

Gordon was second in both practice sessions with a best lap of 191.282 mph in the evening session. Mears was third overall at 191.209 mph and Earnhardt clocked 191.196 mph.

The entire Nextel Cup Series takes to the track Saturday at 10:30 a.m. for Daytona 500 practice. The run for the Daytona 500 pole is Sunday at 1 p.m.

posted on Feb, 12 2005 @ 10:20 AM
Shootout signifies beginning of end for Martin, Wallace

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace will begin saying a season-long goodbye to stock car racing Saturday night.

While both are preparing for their final full seasons of NASCAR Nextel Cup racing, each is determined it won't be a sad farewell.

"I think Rusty feels the same way I do," Martin said. "We both want to go out on a high note, as competitive race drivers."

Martin, 46, finished fourth in the points last year and goes into the 2005 season as one of at least a dozen drivers considered contenders for the Cup championship. The 48-year-old Wallace ended a 105-race winless string last season and expects to run near the front of the pack this year.

"I don't plan to go out quietly," Wallace said, grinning. "We have everything we need to win races."

A great start for either one of the veterans would be a victory in the Budweiser Shootout on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, a race each has won once. Martin stormed back from 13th to beat Ken Schrader by a car length in 1999. Wallace won the previous year, holding off younger brother Kenny as they raced to the checkered flag.

For Mark Martin, this season marks the end of a career that stretches back to the early 1980s. (AP)
For Mark Martin, this season marks the end of a career that stretches back to the early 1980s. (AP)
"I've always thought the Bud Shootout was a great way to start the season off," said Martin, who will be making his 18th start and 17th in a row in the non-points race for last year's pole winners and former winners of the made-for-TV event.

"It's one of those rare races where second place means nothing and you just have to go out there and put everything on the line to win the thing. That's my kind of racing."

Wallace, who will be starting his 19th Shootout, echoed his longtime rival, saying, "If you can win the Shootout, you get your season off on the right foot and give you whole team a big boost of confidence. And that race is usually a pretty good preview of the 500."

It would also be an enormous thrill for Martin or Wallace to finish at the front of the Daytona 500, NASCAR's most prestigious race and one neither has won.

"I haven't won the Daytona 500 and I doubt there's too many people out there who are not aware of that fact," said Wallace, the 1989 series champion and winner of 55 Cup races. "I got close many, many times.

"I'd love to go into my final year knowing I've finally got a 500 victory under my belt when we leave Daytona. That would be a special feeling."

And, as long as he is dreaming, Wallace is dreaming big.

"What would be my ultimate thing this year would be to win the 500 and win the final race at Homestead," he said. "That would be pretty hot if I could pull it off."

Martin is a little less ambitious.

"I'd love a top-five finish," he said. "I'd like a top-10 finish. I'd be much happier with a 20th-place finish than 43rd, like last year. The big thing is it's very important to me to get off to a better start than last year."

Both drivers say that building some momentum in Saturday night's 70-lap event -- divided into segments of 20 and 50 laps, with a mandatory pit stop in the second segment -- is important.

To do that will take some work, with Martin starting 14th and Wallace 15th in the 20-car field.

Defending champion Dale Jarrett got the pole and Greg Biffle the second spot in a blind draw for position.

Others in the race include Bill Elliott, Brian Vickers, Schrader, reigning Cup champion Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Ricky Rudd, Jeremy Mayfield, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Joe Nemechek, Jimmie Johnson, Casey Mears, Bobby Labonte and Geoffrey Bodine.



posted on Feb, 12 2005 @ 07:39 PM
WE BE RACIN AT DAYTONA !!!!!! :party-smiley-018:

the first 20 lap segment is history, biffle won it and looked real strong, mark martin had a tire problem and was never a factor, dale jr had an engine problem and finished the first segment at the back of the pack....the 50 lap shootout for all the dough is up next

posted on Feb, 12 2005 @ 08:39 PM
jimmy johnson just won the bud shootout at daytona, not a very exciting race but only a week to go till the 500

posted on Feb, 12 2005 @ 08:42 PM


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