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 ToyotaMichael Waltrip RacingCasey Mears#07 Jack Daniel's ChevroletRichard Childress RacingKurt Busch#2 Miller Lite DodgePenske RacingDavid Ragan#6 UPS FordRoush Fenway RacingRobby Gordon#7 Jim Beam ToyotaRobby Gordon MotorsportsKasey Kahne#9 Budweiser DodgeRichard Petty MotorsportsDenny Hamlin#11 FedEx ToyotaJoe Gibbs RacingDavid Stremme#12 Penske Racing DodgePenske RacingTony Stewart#14 Old Spice/Office Depot ChevroletStewart Haas RacingGreg Biffle#16 3M FordRoush Fenway RacingMatt Kenseth#17 DeWalt Tools FordRoush Fenway RacingKyle Busch#18 M&M's ToyotaJoe Gibbs RacingElliott Sadler#19 Stanley Tools DodgeRichard Petty MotorsportsJoey Logano#20 Home Depot ToyotaJoe Gibbs RacingJeff Gordon#24 DuPont ChevroletHendrick MotorsportsJamie McMurray#26 Crown Royal Fusion FordRoush Fenway RacingKevin Harvick#29 Shell/Pennzoil ChevroletRichard Childress RacingJeff Burton#31 Caterpillar ChevroletRichard Childress RacingReed Sorenson#43 McDonald's DodgeRichard Petty MotorsportsAJ Allmendinger#44 Valvoline DodgeRichard Petty MotorsportsJimmie Johnson#48 Lowes ChevroletHendrick MotorsportsMichael Waltrip#55 NAPA Auto Parts ToyotaMichael Waltrip RacingScott Speed#82 Red Bull ToyotaRed Bull RacingBrian Vickers#83 Red Bull ToyotaRed Bull RacingDale Earnhardt Jr#88 AMP Energy ChevroletHendrick MotorsportsBobby Labonte#96 Ask.com FordHall of Fame RacingPaul Menard#98 Menard's FordYates RacingCarl Edwards#99 AFLAC FordRoush Fenway Racing

 

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