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Truex Jr. on pole for Budweiser Shootout

Martin Truex Jr. will start from pole position for Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout exhibition race, after drawing the top spot in a blind draw on Friday evening.
Martin Truex Jr. will start from pole alongside Kyle Busch on the front row of the grid for the 34th Budweiser Shootout, after coming up triumphant in Friday night's blind draw setting the starting order for the first event of the 2012 Daytona Speedweeks.

"I had a plan, and I stuck to it," said Truex after selecting the remaining bottle on the furthest right of the stage as he viewed it, which had the grid position concealed on it. He was among the last of the drivers to make his selection.

Meanwhile Kyle Busch will need to hope that his car can be repaired after the Friday practice crash sparked off by contact between Tony Stewart and Kyle's brother Kurt. The #18 was damaged in the aftermath of the car, and Kyle's attempts to break in the back-up car in the second session were thwarted by rain. If the primary car isn't fixed in time for Saturday night's Shootout, Kyle could end up starting from the rear of the field instead of the front.

Brad Keselowski (who drew third position), Kurt Busch (sixth) and AJ Allmendinger (ninth) face a similar situation after the practice accident.

The Budweiser Shootout is a non-championship curtain raiser to the 2012 NASCAR season. The top 25 drivers from the 2011 drivers points standings are eligible to drive, but Mark Martin has not included the event in his partial 2012 season and Brian Vickers does not have a Cup ride for this year. Also eligible are past Daytona Cup race winners Jamie McMurray and Michael Waltrip.

The Shootout event consists of an initial 25-lap first segment followed by a ten minute break for pit crews to change tyres, add fuel and make the usual round of chassis adjustments, after which follows a second 50-lap segment to make for a complete event distance of 75 laps of the 2.5-mile tri-oval. Laps under caution still count toward the race distance.

Saturday also sees the first two practice sessions for next weekend's Daytona 500, with qualifying taking place on the afternoon of Sunday February 19. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gatorade Duel is scheduled for Thursday evening, with the first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series of 2012 set for Friday evening and the opening Nationwide Series race of the year taking place on Saturday afternoon.

Budweiser Shootout starting grid

1. #56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota Michael Waltrip Racing
2. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing
3. #2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Penske Racing
4. #1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
5. #34 David Ragan Ford Front Row Motorsports
6. #51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Phoenix Racing
7. #16 Greg Biffle Ford Roush Fenway Racing
8. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Hendrick Motorsports
9. #22 AJ Allmendinger Dodge Penske Racing
10. #20 Joey Logano Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing
11. #99 Carl Edwards Ford Roush Fenway Racing
12. #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Richard Childress Racing
13. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Stewart-Haas Racing
14. #24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Hendrick Motorsports
15. #14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Stewart-Haas Racing
16. #11 Denny Hamlin Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing
17. #15 Clint Bowyer Toyota Michael Waltrip Racing
18. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Hendrick Motorsports
19. #5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Hendrick Motorsports
20. #55 Michael Waltrip Toyota Michael Waltrip Racing
21. #9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Richard Petty Motorsports
22. #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Richard Childress Racing
23. #17 Matt Kenseth Ford Roush Fenway Racing
24. #27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Richard Childress Racing
25. #42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Earnhardt Ganassi Racing



Related Pictures

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Martin Truex Jr. celebrates picking the pole for the Budweiser Shootout with SPEED host and driver Kenny Wallace on Friday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.
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