Congratulations, you have successfully made it through another NASCAR offseason (if we can even call it much of an offseason at all). It is the day before the Bud Shootout, the opening event of the 2010 season. It is the time of the year when race fans trash all of their bad memories from last season and start fresh again hoping that their driver has a better one.
The Bud Shootout is the event that sets the tone for the rest of the Speedweeks festivities. It separates the haves from the have-nots and gives you a pretty good idea of how various guys are going to fare in the Great American Race. And this time around, it will test how effective the car and bump-drafting changes are that NASCAR made during the break.
This event is the perfect opportunity for drivers to step up who haven't made a lot of noise lately. In the past couple of years, guys who haven't visited victory lane at all in the previous season are actually the ones who have the best odds to win. Just ask Kevin Harvick, last year's winner, or even Dale Earnhardt, Jr. who won it two years back. But if you do manage to win the Bud Shootout, don't expect to go on and win the Daytona 500. That has only happened five times, last in 1997 by Jeff Gordon.
The starting lineup ranges from four-time champion Jimmie Johnson to good ole Derrick Cope who will be lucky to even made ten circuits around the 2.5 mile track. But you can all relax because Robby Gordon didn't make the cut with the new rule changes. He won't be able to cause a big multi-car pileup like he did last year.
So who's going to win it??? I'm going to put my money on Denny Hamlin taking the checkers. He probably really wants to put shame to all those people who called him an idiot for injuring his knee while playing basketball...