Kyle Busch leads during the 2011 Shootout (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kyle Busch leads during the 2011 Shootout (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR has unveiled the field of drivers that qualify for the 2012 Daytona Shootout.

The non-points event has been the traditional curtain raiser to both the NASCAR season and the Daytona Speedweeks since 1979. 2012's running is scheduled for February 18th.

In recent years the criteria allowing drivers into the event have changed. 2011's top 25 drivers in the final points standings are all eligible. A secondary qualifying criteria – past winners of either the Shootout, Daytona 500 or Coke Zero 400 – opens entry to the event makes eight further driver eligible, including current drivers Jamie McMurray and Trevor Bayne.

A full list of eligible drivers is included at the bottom of this article.

“By taking the top 25 competitors in last year's driver points and combining that with former race winners at Daytona, you have all the ingredients for an extremely deep and talented field of drivers for the 2012 Shootout,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “When you take a look at the roster of drivers that this entails, I have to believe this is one of the most competitive fields that have ever been assembled for this event.

The race will consist of 75 laps split into two segments during which both green flag and caution laps will count. The two segments will be split my a ten minute break, during which teams will be able to change tyres, refuel and make chassis adjustments to the car and perform work on the car as they would during a regular season race.

Starting spots will be allocated by blind draw the day before the race.

Eligible drivers for the 2012 Shootout

Top 25 drivers in 2011 championship

Tony Stewart
Carl Edwards
Kevin Harvick
Matt Kenseth
Brad Keselowski
Jimmie Johnson
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Jeff Gordon
Denny Hamlin
Ryan Newman
Kurt Busch
Kyle Busch
Clint Bowyer
Kasey Kahne
AJ Allmendinger
Greg Biffle
Paul Menard
Martin Truex Jr.
Marcos Ambrose
Jeff Burton
Juan Pablo Montoya
Mark Martin
David Ragan
Joey Logano
Brian Vickers

Past winners at Daytona

Bill Elliott
Geoff Bodine
Derrike Cope
Michael Waltrip
Jamie McMurray
Trevor Bayne
Terry Labonte
Ken Schrader