The 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will officially get underway this weekend with the 31st running of the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona on Saturday night.

The non-points teaser ahead of the season-opening Daytona 500 a week later will feature a new format for the new season, with a longer race distance and an expanded field to showcase the four manufacturers involved on Sprint Cup competition.

Hendrick Motorsports ace Dale Earnhardt goes into the event at the defending winner and while no points are on offer, he admitted it was a race that everyone would be looking to win.

"Winning the first race of the year - whether it's for points or no points - is always pretty special," he said. "There's no better way to start a season than by winning the first one right out of the gate."

For 2009, the Budweiser Shootout race distance has been increased from 70 laps to 75 laps and as has been the case since 2003, the event will be run in two segments; only the first segment increases in distance from 20 to 25 laps.

Following the first segment, a ten-minute 'pit stop' will give crews the opportunity to make normal adjustments to their cars. That means tweaks they would do on a normal pit stop during a regular NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. Following the ten-minute 'pit stop', the event's second segment remains a 50-lap sprint for the win.

The field itself will feature the top six teams from each manufacturer based on the final 2008 car owner standings. Each manufacturer will also have a wild card entry in the race, taking it to a total of 28 cars - the largest ever seen for the event.

Budweiser Shootout entry:

David Reutimann #00 Aaron's Toyota Michael Waltrip Racing Casey Mears #07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet Richard Childress Racing Kurt Busch #2 Miller Lite Dodge Penske Racing David Ragan #6 UPS Ford Roush Fenway Racing Robby Gordon #7 Jim Beam Toyota Robby Gordon Motorsports Kasey Kahne #9 Budweiser Dodge Richard Petty Motorsports Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing David Stremme #12 Penske Racing Dodge Penske Racing Tony Stewart #14 Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet Stewart Haas Racing Greg Biffle #16 3M Ford Roush Fenway Racing Matt Kenseth #17 DeWalt Tools Ford Roush Fenway Racing Kyle Busch #18 M&M's Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing Elliott Sadler #19 Stanley Tools Dodge Richard Petty Motorsports Joey Logano #20 Home Depot Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing Jeff Gordon #24 DuPont Chevrolet Hendrick Motorsports Jamie McMurray #26 Crown Royal Fusion Ford Roush Fenway Racing Kevin Harvick #29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet Richard Childress Racing Jeff Burton #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet Richard Childress Racing Reed Sorenson #43 McDonald's Dodge Richard Petty Motorsports AJ Allmendinger #44 Valvoline Dodge Richard Petty Motorsports Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowes Chevrolet Hendrick Motorsports Michael Waltrip #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Michael Waltrip Racing Scott Speed #82 Red Bull Toyota Red Bull Racing Brian Vickers #83 Red Bull Toyota Red Bull Racing Dale Earnhardt Jr #88 AMP Energy Chevrolet Hendrick Motorsports Bobby Labonte #96 Ford Hall of Fame Racing Paul Menard #98 Menard's Ford Yates Racing Carl Edwards #99 AFLAC Ford Roush Fenway Racing


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