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I hadn’t really thought about it, myself, but during one of my too frequent and too lengthy bouts of wasting time online, it came to my attention that the top-two finishers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings in 2012 — and yes, that includes champion Brad Keselowski — will be sitting on the sidelines, so to speak, when several of their rivals take to Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway for the Shootout (Notice I left the Budweiser, or Bud, off the front of that reference. That’s another topic for another day.) all-star-type event that sort of kicks off the 2013 season in February.
Under the old rules, or should I say old new rules, both Keselowski and second-place 2012 season finisher Clint Bowyer would have been eligible. After all, that format had the Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers, among others, from the previous season eligible. But NASCAR’s gone back to the old rules, or old old rules. You remember, the format that made the race an event for previous season pole winners. That excludes Keselowski and Bowyer.
Granted, the Shootout isn’t the All-Star Race; that event will come in May. But still, the Shootout is somewhat of an all-star exhibition. This type of event without the reigning champion and runner-up just seems a little odd to me. Oh well, it is what it is, I guess.
Anyway, here’s who IS eligible (drivers who won at least one pole in 2012 and/or former Shootout winners): Mark Martin, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Juan Montoya, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Martin Truex Jr., A.J. Allmendinger, Marcos Ambrose, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Bill Elliott, Terry Labonte and Ken Schrader.
Just because a driver is listed above doesn’t mean he’ll be racing in a Shootout; it just means he’s eligible.
In case you didn’t notice, Bowyer’s part-time teammate is eligible. Also eligible are Keselowski’s new teammate and former teammate who is no longer a teammate because of a failed drug test. Wonder if those guys getting in makes sitting out sting a little more for 2012′s top-two? By the way, Bowyer’s full-time teammate is also eligible. Guess Bowyer and Keselowski can keep each other company while they watch their teammates compete.
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