|"Dude, this SUCKS!"|
With Budweiser declining to return as sponsor of the 2013 event, the Shootout will revert to its traditional eligibility standards, with the field once again comprised of Coors Light pole winners from the previous season and former Shootout winners who attempted to qualify for at least one Cup race last season. Neither Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski nor runner-up Clint Bowyer was able to claim a pole position last season and neither is a past Shootout champion, leaving them on the outside of the preseason classic, looking in.
As a result, the race will run without the reigning series champion for the first time since 2004, when Matt Kenseth failed to earn a spot in the field. A total of 22 drivers are eligible to take part in this year’s Shootout; Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Mark Martin, Martin Truex, Jr., Jeff Gordon, Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, Marcos Ambrose, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Juan Pablo Montoya, Casey Mears, Tony Stewart, AJ Allmendinger, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch, Bill Elliott, Terry Labonte and Geoffrey Bodine. Bodine is not likely to take part, after announcing his retirement from the sport earlier this year.
Daytona International Speedway is expected to announce a new event sponsor and race format in the near future.
Photos: HHP Photo/Alan Marler