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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fan voices heard again; as Shootout will consist once again of pole winners in 2013

The Shootout was fun to watch this year, but the process of getting into it had gotten a little silly. Over the past four years, it has strayed from its roots -- letting the previous year's pole winners battle for the win -- and grown into an odd mix of rules that I can't even remember off the top of my head.

The end result was that the race was basically just another All-Star race and had lost its uniqueness. I was not happy with this change, and neither were a lot of other people.

And in this instance, it appears that the powers that be in NASCAR have actually listened. On Sunday morning, NASCAR announced that next year's shootout (which may or may not be the "Bud" shootout, since the pole award is sponsored by Coors) will go back to using pole winners, plus previous shootout winners who have attempted to race in 2012.

The changes all started with advertiser demands (the Bud vs. Coors battle), and I'm glad that's finally being put aside and we can go back to this being a unique event with unique qualifying eligibility.

"Fans have expressed their desire to see this event return to its original eligibility rules," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. "We listened and decided it would be best to return to the eligibility rules of years past adding further meaning to pole qualifying for each NASCAR Sprint Cup race."

This adds drama to today's qualifying session at Daytona, as not only will the top two spots at Daytona be locked in, but someone will qualify for the 2013 shootout.

Kudos to NASCAR for listening to the fans on this one.

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