The Sports Network for 105.3 The Fan

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Sports Network) – NASCAR officials announced a tweak to the lineup eligibility for the February 12 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway.

For the first time in the history of the pre-season, non-points event at Daytona, Sprint Cup rookies of the year from 2001-2010 will meet the eligibility requirements.

Other qualifiers for this year’s Budweiser Shootout include the 12 drivers who competed in the 2010 Chase for the championship and past series champions, as well as previous winners of the Budweiser Shootout, the Daytona 500 and the July Cup race at Daytona.

Kasey Kahne (2004), Regan Smith (2008), Joey Logano (2009) and Kevin Conway (2010) are the previous rookies of the year who have neither captured a series championship nor won a previous Cup event at Daytona.

Thirty drivers are eligible for this year’s Budweiser Shootout, which will be the first Cup event contested on Daytona’s newly repaved surface.

“When you take a look at the field for this year’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, it’s loaded with all-star caliber drivers,” NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said in a statement. “From former series champions and Chase drivers, to the past 10 rookie of the year performers, to drivers who have had success at Daytona, we believe the fans are in store for a terrific and highly competitive event on a brand new racing surface.”

The race distance will again be 75 laps (187.5 miles), consisting of two segments – 25 and 50 laps.