Bud Shootout 2012
February 18, 2012 by staff
Bud Shootout 2012, The Budweiser Shootout starts off the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season (February 18) with nothing at stake but money … and maybe some momentum. This all-star race at Daytona International Speedway doesn’t offer points but pits the top drivers from a year ago against each other along with past Shootout winners. So who might have the best chance to win? Here are the top six contenders.
6. Jimmie Johnson – He won the race in ’05 and the 500 the following year but successes have otherwise been hard to come by at the big Florida track for ‘Five-time’. But expect a renewed vigor in the #48 camp and watch him be near the front for the Shootout … and for the rest of the season.
5. Carl Edwards – I have a feeling he will be a contender in every race this year and the Shootout will be no different. He’s never won at Daytona but I’d be surprised if Cousin’ Carl wasn’t near or in the lead of this race at some point.
4. Tony Stewart – Any race at Daytona will have the current Cup champ as a favorite. He’s won a total of six times at the two-and-a-half mile facility so expect ‘Smoke’ to be leading at some time in the race with the prospects for victory at the end.
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. – A four-time winner at the venerable track, Jr. has always had a good feel for Daytona and can dominate with the right setup. I’d anticipate him being at or near the front of the pack all race and maybe giving JR Nation what they so badly want – an Earnhardt win.
2. Kyle Busch – This could be a special season for the sometimes troubled driver and what better way to put 2011 in the rear-view mirror, than a victory at Daytona. He can win any race he’s in but has garnered only one win at this track: the 400 in ’08 (source – About.com). But watch him be at the front of the Shootout all race.
1. Kevin Harvick – Winner of two of the last three Shootouts and always a favorite at Daytona, it’s hard not to choose the 36 year old from Bakersfield, California. The #29 was one of the best cars all last year and I think Harvick’s out to prove he should be a champion – so what better way than to win the opening race.
No, I don’t have Gordon, Hamlin, Kayne, Kenseth, Keselowski or Kurt listed. For one reason or another, I just don’t see them as Shootout winners. By the way, the drivers say this might be the most important Bud Shootout ever due in part to unknowns (source – USA Today). Two-by-two tandem racing may still be a part of the scheme here, so it’s possible the outcome will come down to who you’re hooked up with that will determine success or failure.
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