NASCAR today released the eligibility requirements for the 2013 Shootout at Daytona, an announcement that signals a return to the fan-favorite preseason event’s roots.
Next season’s field will consist of 2012 Coors Light Pole winners and past Shootout winners who have attempted to qualify for at least one race during the 2012 season.
Eligibility rules for next season’s annual non-points race mirror those from 1979-2008, and puts greater emphasis on each weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole qualifying session.
“Fans have expressed their desire to see this event return to its original eligibility rules,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “We listened and decided it would be best to return to the eligibility rules of years past adding further meaning to pole qualifying for each NASCAR Sprint Cup race.”
This announcement comes prior to 2012’s first qualifying session, adding intrigue to an already important event. Today’s fastest qualifier, in addition to winning the pole for next Sunday’s 54th Annual Daytona 500 (Feb. 26 at 1 p.m. on FOX), will also earn a spot in next year’s Shootout. Two Daytona 500 starting positions will be locked in after today’s qualifying session. The fastest two cars in qualifying will sit on the front row for The Great American Race.
Last night, Kyle Busch won his first Shootout at Daytona, locking up a spot in next year’s field. Busch passed defending series champion Tony Stewart in the tri-oval, edging the three-time titlist by a margin of victory of .013 seconds – the closest in Shootout history.
Last season, 18 different drivers won a pole. After qualifying today these drivers are already eligible for next season's shootout: Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte and Carl Edward who earned a berth by winning the pole for this year's Daytona 500.