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Earnhardt draws Shootout pole

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Stewart on front row; Harvick to roll off 18th in attempt at third win in row

By Sporting News Wire Service February 11, 2011 10:22 PM, EST
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Kevin Harvick will try to win his third consecutive Budweiser Shootout from the 18th starting position Saturday night — but that’s not such a bad thing. It doesn’t seem to matter where Harvick starts the 75-lap exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway. Last year he won from the second position. Two years ago he claimed his first Shootout win from 27th on the grid. “That’ll be all right,” Harvick said after unwrapping the No. 18 placard from the Budweiser bottle he chose in the blind qualifying draw Friday night. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won the 2003 and ’08 Shootouts, drew the pole for Saturday’s race. You knew it, didn’t you?” draw party show host Kenny Wallace asked Earnhardt after the selection. “I did,” Earnhardt said. “We’re good.” Three-time Shootout winner Tony Stewart starts from the outside of the front row after drawing the No. 2 position. Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin will line up third and fourth, respectively.The race will be run in segments of 25 and 50 laps, with a 10-minute break between. Green-flag and caution laps count toward the total. It’s an eclectic field for the 33rd running of the race that originated as the Busch Clash. Originally, the event was an exhibition for pole winners from the previous season, but when Coors Light took over sponsorship of the Cup pole award from Budweiser, it created a conflict that necessitated a change in eligibility requirements for the Shootout. NASCAR is still feeling its way through that process, and changes to the eligibility rules this year dramatically altered the composition of the field. All 12 Chase drivers from 2010 qualified, along with past Cup Series champions, past Budweiser Shootout winners, past winners of points races at Daytona, and Cup rookies of the year for the past 10 years. That last provision punched the tickets of Kasey Kahne, Juan Montoya and Joey Logano, who otherwise wouldn’t have made the field. It also gave entry to Regan Smith and Kevin Conway, neither of whom has won a race in any of NASCAR’s top three serie]]]]> ]]>

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