Bud Shotout Turns Away Coors Pole Winners
Bud Eliminates Pole Winners From Race
Everyone knows that sponsors are all powerful in NASCAR, but who knew they had the power to change the format of the very races themselves.
In a battle of the beer sponsors NASCAR pole winners will no longer be automatically eligible for the 2009 Budweiser Shootout.
Anheuser Busch has sponsored the first race of the NASCAR season since 1979. The race was initially known as the Busch Clash. Now it’s called the Bud Shootout.
But in 2008 the Coors Light Pole Award became the official award that NASCAR uses to recognize the fastest qualifier.
“The change is welcome, and I think everyone will like the change.” ~ Denny Hamlin
The Bud Pole Award went away this year when Bud pulled their sponsorship. Coors Light now sponsors the pole award. So a new racing structure was needed.
The race doesn’t pay any points, but it amounts to NASCAR’s pre-season all star race. Traditionally drivers had to win a pole the previous year, or be a previous Bud shootout winner, to qualify for the race — but now that Coors is the Pole sponsor the rules have changed.
Ryan Newman, Patrick Carpentier, and Joe Nemecheck have all won poles this year, but based on the new rules they will not be in the race next year – as they would have been in previous years. Neither will Tony Stewart.
The Budweiser Shootout in Daytona will have a new format beginning in 2009.
The top 6 race teams from each manufacturer – based on owner’s points – will be in the race.
24 race teams will compete in the 2009 Shootout. The top 6 teams from each manufacturer will earn a spot in NASCAR’s first race of the year. That is, the top 6 Chevrolets, Fords, Dodges and Toyotas.
Instead of qualifying, drivers will draw for starting positions at the Budweiser Shootout Draw Party prior to the race.
The race distance has been increased to 75 laps over 2 segments. The first run will be for 25 laps, followed by a 50 lap stretch to the finish.
Teams will have a 10 minute pit stop between segments to change tires, take on fuel, and make adjustments to their race cars.
The race will be held Saturday night under the lights on February 7, 2009 at Daytona International Speedway.
Did NASCAR make the right call in allowing a sponsor to make such a major decision in racing?