Terry Labonte is in the Sprint Unlimited but last years NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Brad Keselowski is not. Labonte, a two-time champion himself, has run just a handful of races in recent years while Keselowski has won eight races over the last two seasons.
So exactly why is Terry Labonte in the Sprint Unlimited?
It is because of the ever changing rules for running the non-points race which serves as a precursor to the Daytona 500.
Once known as the Budweiser Shootout the race has undergone a few different facelifts in recent years. Last season Budweiser wanted nothing to do with a race which awarded drivers for winning a Coors Light pole award. The result was a rule change which allowed 33 drivers to be eligible for the race.
This year the Sprint Unlimited returns to its original, 1979 concept — a non-points race for drivers who won a Coors Light Pole last season along with previous event winners who participated in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup race in 2012.
Hence why Labonte (1985 winner of the shootout) is in the race while last years champion Keselowski and second place points finisher Clint Bowyer will be absent from the event.
Labonte will drive the No. 32 C&J Energy Ford Fusion for FAS Lane Racing. He will also drive the car in the Daytona 500 as well as the other three restrictor plate races in 2013.