5 Questions Before ... Budweiser Shootout!

Don’t you hate it when people tell you there is good news, but there is some bad news with it? Well, race fans, today I have nothing but good news… NASCAR is back, baby! The Budweiser Shootout is tonight and, as always, I have some questions. I was going to wait until the Daytona 500 to do get this column going again, but I was just too excited!

Here goes nothing!

How much will the Budweiser Shootout tell us about the rest of the season? … Can you say crapshoot? The last two winners in the Shootout (Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr.) finished outside the top ten in points. The two before that, Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin, not only made the Chase but had multiple wins in their respective seasons. So… how much does that really tell us?

Will the new format for the Shootout make a big difference? ... NASCAR once again changed the criteria for the Budweiser Shootout. The new lineup includes: (takes deep breath) the top 12 drivers from the previous season’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, past NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions, past Budweiser Shootout winners, past winners at both the Daytona 500 and the July Daytona race, and the reigning Raybestos Rookie of the Year. To be eligible, each driver has to have competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at some point in the past two seasons. Last year the top six cars from each manufacturer, plus a wild card, were eligible for the race. The year previous was all of last season’s pole winners and past Budweiser Shootout winners. This new format has put a few drivers in this field that previously didn’t have a ride. It will be interesting to see if they play a part in the outcome of this race.

How soon will we see The Big One? … So far the drivers have had a rough time making it through practice. There was a 6-car pileup in Thursday’s Budweiser Shootout practice. With many more cars on the track, one little slip up could take out many more cars than just six. The big one is something fans and drivers alike both look for at all restrictor plate races, and it’s a matter of when, not if.

How much will the Budweiser Shootout tell us about the Daytona 500? … We pretty much determined earlier that the Budweiser Shootout tells us next to nothing about what we’ll see during the season, but what about the Daytona 500? Three of the last five winners of the Budweiser Shootout have gone on to finish in the top ten in the Daytona 500. However, the other two winners finished outside the top 30. You decide.

What will it take for the Budweiser Shootout to overshadow the Super Bowl? … It’s highly unlikely that the Shootout will even put a dent in the Super Bowl’s ratings. However, what will it take to get people talking? Right now, the ARCA race is getting more attention than the Budweiser Shootout or the Daytona 500 because of… oh what’s her name… Danica someone? It might take a surprise winner, a big wreck, or a juicy storyline—or a combination of the three—to override either the Super Bowl or the ARCA race.

Bonus questions: Will Digger make an appearance, and if so how many times? … Does competing in the ARCA race make one eligible to race in the Budweiser Shootout? … What is the over/under on how many times the commentators mention Denny Hamlin’s busted knee?

Photo courtesy of NASCARMedia. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
5 Questions Before ... Budweiser Shootout! 5 Questions Before ... Budweiser Shootout! Reviewed by Summer Dreyer on Saturday, February 06, 2010 Rating: 5