Fans have say in Sprint Unlimited format


NASCAR and Sprint Cup Series title sponsor, Sprint, have made changes to the February exhibition event at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway formerly known as the Budweiser Shootout, including eligibility requirements and a name change. The race to be held on Feb. 8 will be called the Sprint Unlimited and will go back to being a race for previous season pole winners and past winners of the event.

It has already been determined that the event will be a 75-lapper, but fans will have input in the format of that 75-lap distance, including segment distances, the type of pit stop that will be mandatory after the first segment and the number of drivers eliminated after the second segment.

“We are excited to provide our fan base this first-of-its-kind opportunity to directly be  in determining the race’s format and in-race decisions,” NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said. “By allowing our fans this type of interaction, it is our hope that more fans will be tuned in to the event than ever before.”

Fans may cast votes via NASCAR’s mobile app, NASCAR Mobile ’13, or online at NASCAR.com/SprintUnlimited. NASCAR is encouraging voting via the app by counting each of those votes twice. Voting for the race format, i.e. segment lengths, will close at 11:59 p.m. ET Feb. 13. Pit stop and driver elimination voting will end at a time during the actual race to be announced later.

“Giving fans such a strong voice in the design of the race is a fitting way to launch our 10th season in the sport,” Sprint Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing Steve Gaffney said. “We are giving them the ultimate access to the sport, the decision-making power to sculpt the type of race they want to see. With today’s technology, they can make these decisions in real time as the race is happening.”

Drivers eligible for the 2013 Sprint Unlimited include:

Pole winners in 2012
Carl Edwards
Mark Martin
Kasey Kahne
Greg Biffle
Denny Hamlin
Martin Truex Jr.
A.J. Allmendinger
Jeff Gordon
Aric Almirola
Joey Logano
Marcos Ambrose
Jimmie Johnson
Matt Kenseth
Kyle Busch
Juan Montoya
Tony Stewart
Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Previous winners of event
Kurt Busch
Kevin Harvick
Bill Elliott
Terry Labonte
Ken Schrader

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Tags: Daytona International Speedway NASCAR Sprint Unlimited