The sanctioning body announced on Sunday -- prior to qualifying for the
February 26 Daytona 500 -- the field for next year's preseason, non-points
race will consist of pole winners in the Sprint Cup Series this season as well
as previous winners of the Budweiser Shootout. The eligibility format will be
the same one used from 1979 through 2008.
'Fans have expressed their desire to see this event return to its original
eligibility rules,' said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's 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.'
Carl Edwards won the pole for the Daytona 500 and therefore earned a spot in
next year's Budweiser Shootout. Last night, Kyle Busch locked up a position in
the field with his thrilling victory in the Shootout. Busch bounced back from
two near wrecks and then made a last-lap pass on reigning series champion Tony
Stewart. He beat Stewart to the finish line by 0.013 seconds, making it the
closest margin in the history of that event.
Eighteen different drivers won a pole in NASCAR's premier series last season.