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Budweiser Shootout eligibility rules change:
NASCAR announced Wednesday a revision to the 2010 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona format that provides fans with a strong lineup of drivers highlighted by last year's top performers and a collection of previous winners at the sport's most-storied race track. The 32nd annual season-opening event launches Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 6 with green flag set for 8:10pm/et. The new criteria are based upon the following qualifications, with eligibility based on a driver having competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series within the last two seasons:

" The 12 drivers that qualified for the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup
" Past NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions
" Past Budweiser Shootout champions
" Past Daytona 500 and Coke Zero 400 champions
" The reigning Raybestos Rookie of the Year

"We're always looking at ways to make this event bigger and better for our fans and we believe the new format for the Budweiser Shootout puts together an exceptionally strong lineup of our top drivers," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. "In our discussions with the track, we thought by placing an additional emphasis on the drivers who had performed well at Daytona over the years would create an even more compelling element for the fans to get excited about at the beginning of the season."

The race distance will continue to be 75 laps (187.5 miles), consisting of two segments  25 and 50 laps. Both green-flag laps and yellow-flag laps will count. Between segments there will be a 10-minute pit stop allowing teams to pit and change tires, add fuel and make normal chassis adjustments. Crews will be permitted to work on cars and will be allowed to perform functions they would do on a normal pit stop in a regular NASCAR Sprint Cup event. All work must be performed on pit road or in the garage. Changing of springs, shock absorbers or rear-ends will not be permitted.

Starting positions will again be determined by a blind-draw at the annual Budweiser Shootout Draw Party on Thursday night, Feb. 4 on the SPEED stage in the Midway, outside Turn 4. The Budweiser Shootout  a "non-points" event for NASCAR Sprint Cup competitors  was first held in 1979, originally known as the Busch Clash. Kevin Harvick won last year's event. Tickets for all 2010 Speedweeks events are now available online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

Drivers eligible for the 2010 Budweiser Shootout include:
2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Drivers: #48-Jimmie Johnson, #5-Mark Martin, #24-Jeff Gordon, #2-Kurt Busch, #11-Denny Hamlin, #14-Tony Stewart, #16-Greg Biffle, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #39-Ryan Newman, #9-Kasey Kahne, #99-Carl Edwards & #83-Brian Vickers
Others (criteria filled in parentheses)
#1-Jamie McMurray (Coke Zero 400 winner)
#17-Matt Kenseth (Series champion, Daytona 500)
#18-Kyle Busch (Coke Zero 400)
#20-Joey Logano (Reigning Raybestos Rookie of the Year)
#21-Bill Elliott (Series champion, Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400, Budweiser Shootout)
#29-Kevin Harvick (Daytona 500, Budweiser Shootout)
#31-Jeff Burton (Coke Zero 400)
#55-Michael Waltrip (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400)
#71-Bobby Labonte (Series champion)
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400, Budweiser Shootout)
#34?-John Andretti (Coke Zero 400) - no 2010 ride announced
#75?-Derrike Cope (Daytona 500) - will supposedly run his own team again
Geoff Bodine (Daytona 500, Budweiser Shootout) - no current ride, last ran at Dover in 9/2004, made two 2009 attempts in #64
Terry Labonte (Series champion, Budweiser Shootout) - no current ride, last ran at Homestead 11/2009 in #08 car
Sterling Marlin (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400) - no current ride, last ran at Martinsville 10/2009 in #09 car
Ken Schrader (Budweiser Shootout) - no current ride, last ran at Phoenix 11/2008 in #96 car.(NASCAR)
28 drivers are eligible, no word if all will run the event. Eligibility based on a driver having competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series within the last two seasons (2008-2009).
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