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Shootout eligibility changed for 2013

The day after Kyle Busch won the 2012 Budweiser Shootout, NASCAR organisers announced changes to the eligibility rules for next year's event.
Eligibility for the 2013 Budweiser Shootout is to be overhauled, NASCAR organisers announced on Sunday - although to many there's a familiar 'back to the future' feel to the revamp.

This year's event guaranteed places to the top 25 drivers in 2011 championship points, together with any previous winners of the Shootout or the Daytona 500 who had still been competing in Cup events during the past 12 months.

But next year the eligibility will go to those drivers who win a pole position during the 2012 season, together with any previous Shootout winners who had attempted to qualify for any Cup race during the season.

The move is an attempt to heighten the importance of qualifying during the upcoming season and give an even greater incentive to drivers competing to win a pole position. Last season, 18 different drivers won a pole.

The new eligibility system is in fact a return to the old system used for the Shootout between 1979 and 2008. However, when Budweiser stood down as sponsor of the weekly pole position award (now backed by rival brand Coors Light), the system was changed from 2009 to 2011.

“Fans have expressed their desire to see this event return to its original eligibility rules,” explained Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “We listened and decided it would be best to return to the eligibility rules of years past adding further meaning to pole qualifying for each NASCAR Sprint Cup race.”

The new system means that drivers already eligible for the 2013 race include this year's Daytona 500 pole winner Carl Edwards, this year's Shootout winner Kyle Busch, and previous winners Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Terry Labonte and Bill Elliott.

One of the big losers under the new system could be Trevor Bayne, who would previously have been eligible as a Daytona 500 winner but who will now have to claim pole position during 2012 to get in. Bayne did not run in the Shootout this weekend because of lack of sponsorship funding for his Wood Brothers Cup team.



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Matt Kenseth (#17 Best Buy Ford), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (#88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet), Martin Truex Jr. (#56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota), Joey Logano, (#20 The Home Depot Toyota) and Kevin Harvick (#29 Budweiser Chevrolet) crash during the NASCAR Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Paul Menard (#27 Peak/Menards Chevrolet), David Ragan (#34 Front Row Motorsports Ford), Mark Martin (#55 Aaron`s Toyota), Greg Biffle (#16 3M Ford) and Matt Kenseth (#17 Best Buy Ford) crash during the NASCAR Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Drivers are introduced prior to the start of the NASCAR Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 2nd position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, won the pole position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined by Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS on the front row. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ParkerStore Chevrolet, poses with the Keystone Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenal Ford, climbs out of his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, leads the field at the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series DAV 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch celebrates pole position at Phoenix International Raceway. November 8 2014. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series O`Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on November 1, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, races to the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series O`Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on November 1, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series O`Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on November 1, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Trevor Bayne`s #6 AdvoCare Ford on fire after crashing during the NASCAR Nationwide Series O`Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on November 1, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, prepares his helmet in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 1, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 31, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 31, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 31, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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