Menard on Pole Position in the 2009 Budweiser Shootout

Paul Menard of Yates Racing will start the Budweiser Shootout this weekend from pole position. The starting order for the invitation-only event was established after each of the 28 drivers chose bottles of Budweiser and drew by order in which they finished in last year's Sprint Cup standings for each manufacturer.

As Chevrolet won the manufacturers' title last year, the Chevy drivers were scheduled to take the firsts picks. Three times champion Jimmie Johnson drew first and will start from the 21st spot on the grid, while teammate and 5-time champion of the Sprint Cup Series Jeff Gordon will start bottom of the field, from 28th place.

Ford, Toyota and Dodge drivers – in that order – made their assigned picks, and Menard was the lucky one to start first in the Shootout. Joining him in the front row will be Richard Petty Motorsports' Elliott Sadler.

“That's pretty cool. By the time I drew there were about four numbers at the front and three back near 17th and 18th so I felt like I had a pretty good shot at getting a good starting position,” said Menard after the random starting order was finalized.

Sam Hornish Jr. will not take part at the Shootout on Saturday due to the fact that Team Penske's officials have confirmed he will start the 2009 season with the owner points of the Bill Davis Racing #22 car last season. BDR only finished 31st overall in the 2008 points standings. Also, Robby Gordon will drive a Dodge car in the Shootout, despite having switched to Toyota in the off-season.

Each manufacturer will have 6 cars running in the Saturday event based on the 2008 owner points, with an additional wild card for either a 7th driver in the 2008 points standings or a former Shootout champion. Here is the order for the 75-lap exhibition race:

1. Paul Menard (Ford)
2. Elliott Sadler (Dodge)
3. Reed Sorenson (Dodge)
4. Scott Speed (Toyota)
5. Denny Hamlin (Toyota)
6. Tony Stewart (Chevrolet)
7. Brian Vickers (Toyota)
8. Bobby Labonte (Ford)
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr (Chevrolet)
10. Kyle Busch (Toyota)
11. Carl Edwards ( Ford)
12. Kurt Busch (Dodge)
13. Robby Gordon (Dodge)
14. Kasey Kahne (Dodge)
15. Jamie McMurray (Ford)
16. David Ragan (Ford)
17. Michael Waltrip (Toyota)
18. AJ Allmendinger (Dodge)
19. Joey Logano (Toyota)
20. David Stremme (Dodge)
21. Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet)
22. David Reutimann (Toyota)
23. Jeff Burton (Chevrolet)
24. Casey Mears (Chevrolet)
25. Matt Kenseth (Ford)
26. Greg Biffle (Ford)
27. Kevin Harvick (Chevrolet)
28. Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet)
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