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Budweiser Shootout 2012: Martin Truex Jr. Draws Pole Position

Leading the field to the green flag at Daytona is nothing new for Martin Truex Jr., having been the pole-sitter for his first Nationwide Series event at the track in 2004 and claiming the top spot for the 2009 Daytona 500 grid. The native of Mayetta, NJ will again be the first man to Daytona's start-finish line Saturday evening, this time not through speed but rather courtesy of picking the beer bottle with the right label on it.

Truex, driver of Michael Waltrip Racing's No. 56 Toyota (sponsored by Atlanta-based NAPA Auto Parts) snagged the pole position in Friday's qualifying draw party for the 34th annual Budweiser Shootout. Kyle Busch drew the second starting position and Brad Keselowski took third, but they will each have to drop to the rear of the field on the pace laps, along with defending race winner Kurt Busch and A.J. Allmendinger. All four will be in backup cars, a result of the five-car melee that erupted at the end of the opening practice. Jamie McMurray will roll off fourth but take over the outside pole when Kyle Busch drops to the rear.

Unadilla's David Ragan, the lone born-and-bred Georgian representative in Saturday's race, drew the fifth starting spot. Former Georgia resident Joey Logano, who first made his name as a legends car driver on Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thunder Ring, and who pilots the Home Depot-sponsored No. 20 Toyota, drew the 10th starting position. It was the first time in four Shootout appearances that Logano has been able to draw his own starting position, as he didn't turn 21 until last May. Former crew chief Greg Zipadelli previously handled the duty.

Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr., winner of the Shootout in 2003 and 2008, will roll off eighth. Defending Sprint Cup champion and three-time Bud Shootout winner Tony Stewart will start 15th. His Chevrolet sustained heavy damage in the multi-car accident -- triggered by contact between himself and Kurt Busch -- but the Stewart-Haas Racing team chose to repair the car rather than roll out a backup and risk wrecking it Saturday, as that would potentially be setting them back two cars before Daytona 500 time trials have even taken place.

Other notables include championship runner-up Carl Edwards in 11th, two-time Shootout champ Jeff Gordon in 14th, and five-time Sprint Cup titlist and 2005 Shootout winner Jimmie Johnson in 18th. Juan Pablo Montoya drew the last starting spot, declaring that he "freaking knew" he would beforehand.

For the entire 25-car starting grid, visit

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.