Saturday’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona signals a shift in seasons throughout the sporting world. It’s a sign that football is one game away from beginning a long hibernation and pitchers and catchers will be soon reporting for spring training.
The Shootout is a non-points 75-lap race and gives fans a thrill as an appetizer for next Sunday’s Daytona 500. Everyone will get to see right away how some of NASCAR’s new, more loosely interpreted, rules will unfold before the season opener.
The race involves the best of the best in NASCAR taking the 12 Chase drivers from last season, past Cup Champions, past Bud Shootout winners, past Daytona 500 winners, past Daytona Coke Zero 400 winners, and the rookie of the year winner from the previous season.
Because NASCAR cut back costs to help the smaller teams, there was no pre-season practice at Daytona or Las Vegas for the second consecutive year.
Thursday’s Budweiser Shootout practice at Daytona was the first time we were all able to see how some of those changes would affect the racing and right away we got a quick answer in the first of two practice sessions. Two of the NASCAR changes were tested immediately.