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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)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, Trevor Bayne, driver of the #6 AdvoCare Ford, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS finishes in third place and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS finishes in second place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, climbs into his car prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS qualifies for fifth position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Larson is 17th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS qualifies for 2nd position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Harvick leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Joining him on the front row will be Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS celebrates with his team after winning the Pole position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Busch is 33rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Joining him on the front row will be Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS won the Pole position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Busch is 33rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Joining him on the front row will be Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson drives the #42 Target Chevrolet through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, poses for a photo with Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert after winning the pole during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2015 in Fontana, California.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Comcast Business Toyota, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #4 Energizer Chevrolet SS qualifies in sixth position Friday, February 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, is interviewed in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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