DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Although Geoffrey Bodine has not had a full-time NASCAR Winston Cup ride for several years, the 1986 Daytona 500 winner will start on the pole Saturday night in the 25th annual Budweiser Shootout.
Bodine was awarded the pole Thursday in a random drawing. He will drive a Ford Taurus owned by his brother, Brett. The elder Bodine earned a spot in the inaugural night-time running of the Bud Shootout through his victory in the All-Star race in 1992.
"We start on the pole, maybe we can end up there," Bodine said.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start last in the 19-car field.
"It can't get any worse," Earnhardt said.
The Bud Shootout traditionally has been held on the Sunday afternoon before the Daytona 500. But the 70-lap, non-points race that will kick off the 2003 Winston Cup season will be run under the Speedway's lighting system.
The race also features a new format that includes a break after the first 20 laps. Drivers and crews will have a 10-minute period to replace tires, get fuel and make any minor adjustments for the final 50 laps.
After the break, cars will return to the track for a double-file restart in the same order as they were at the end of the first 20 laps. Since cars will be running a smaller fuel cell, fans may see another pit stop during the final 50 laps, which must end in a green-white-checkered finish.
Also on Thursday, defending champion Bobby Gerhart won the pole for the ARCA/REMAX Advance Discount Auto Parts 200. Gerhart earned the pole with a speed of 184.245 miles per hour.
Rounding out the top five qualifiers were Billy Venturini (184.158 mph), Chase Montgomery (183.726), Jeremy Clements (183.486) and Jason Jarrett (183.385). Other notable starters in the field include Christian Fittipaldi (seventh), Deborah Renshaw (10th), Shawna Robinson (13th), Frank Kimmel (15th), Rick Carelli (27th) and Greg Sacks (30th).