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Keeping Pace

Edwards draws the pole for Saturday’s Shootout

Carl Edwards drives the Aflac Ford Fusion on the NASCAR Sprint Car. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)
Carl Edwards drives the Aflac Ford Fusion on the NASCAR Sprint Car. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

NASCAR Sprint Cup racing gets underway Saturday, Feb. 6 with the running of the Budweiser Shootout. Carl Edwards drew the pole in Thursday night ceremonies and will be joined by Kevin Harvick on the front row on the season-opening speciality race.

The Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— Carl Edwards is on the pole for Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. The starting lineup for the 24-car event was determined by a draw Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway.
The 75-lap annual non-points exhibition for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will be divided into segments of 25 and 50 laps.
“From what I’ve seen so far, there might not be many cars left after the first 25,” said Edwards, referring to crashes in practice Thursday. “This race is going to be very interesting. It’s going to spread out a little bit. It’s going to become a handling race. It doesn’t matter where you start unless if somebody misses a gear, we’ll be in front of it.”
Defending race champion Kevin Harvick was not at the draw party as he was battling flu-like symptoms. He drew the second spot but likely will have to drop to the rear of the field because he did not practice the car.
NASCAR also is expected to send Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and Mark Martin to the back of the field because they never practiced their backup cars after crashes. Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray practiced their backup cars and will get to start where they drew. Derrike Cope also is expected to drop to the rear because he never got through technical inspection in time to practice.
“None of us have been in a race car very much lately, and we all kind of jump in there and it’s a little bit slippery,” Edwards said. “If we can make it through the first 10 laps of a run all weekend on tires, it’s going to string out, it’s going to be a really good race, it’s going to be little packs of cars that have to handle.”
The last time Edwards had been on a pole for a Cup event was at Bristol in August 2008.
“It’s the first race of the season, and it will be nice to be up front,” Edwards said. “It’s been a while since I’ve been on a pole. I know I didn’t earn this one, it’s all luck, but it still feels good.”
Budweiser Shootout lineup
1. Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing No. 99 Ford
2. Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing No. 29 Chevrolet
3. Brian Vickers, Red Bull Racing No. 83 Toyota
4. Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing No. 39 Chevrolet
5. Greg Biffle, Roush Fenway Racing No. 16 Ford
6. Mark Martin, Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet
7. Jeff Burton, Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet
8. Matt Kenseth, Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 Ford
9. Jamie McMurray, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing No. 1 Chevrolet
10. John Andretti, Front Row Motorsports No. 34 Ford
11. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet
12. Bobby Labonte, TRG Motorsports No. 71 Chevrolet
13. Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet
14. Ken Schrader, Red Bull Racing No. 82 Toyota
15. Michael Waltrip, Michael Waltrip Racing No. 51 Toyota
16. Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet
17. Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota
18. Derrike Cope, Cope/Keller Racing No. 75 Dodge
19. Kasey Kahne, Richard Petty Motorsports No. 9 Ford
20. Juan Pablo Montoya, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet
21. Joey Logano, Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota
22. Kurt Busch, Penske Racing No. 2 Dodge
23. Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet
24. Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.