Amy Henderson · Monday January 21, 2013
Sprint, who will take over sponsorship of NASCAR’s season-opening exhibition race at Daytona this year from Anheuser-Busch, announced changes to the invitation-only event on Monday during the Sprint Media Tour Hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. The event, which was previously known as the Budweiser Shootout, will now be called the Sprint Unlimited. The field will be comprised of pole winners from the previous season and past winners of the event.
The biggest change, though, is the process by which the race’s format will be chosen. Fans will select the length of the segments, whether teams will perform a mandatory two- or four-tire pit stop after the first segment, whether cars will be eliminated after the second segment, and the design of the firesuits that will be worn in Victory Lane by the Sprint trophy girls. In additions, fans at the track on the day of the race will vote on how the field will be set for the event.
Fans can vote at NASCAR’s website or using the new 2013 NASCAR mobile app, which is now available. Sprint customers with the carrier’s unlimited plan can vote as often as they wish for free.
Fans can choose one of three options for the race format between now and February 13. The options for the 75-lap race are a 40-lap, 20-lap, 15-lap split, a 35-lap, 30-lap, 10-lap breakdown, or 30-lap, 25-lap and 20-lap segments.
The other options will be revealed on the day of the race. Voting for pit stops is open until the green flag waves for the first segment of the race. Fans can decide if there should be a mandatory pit stop after the first segment for two tires, four tires, or no pit stop. If fans choose the final option, teams will not be allowed to pit between the first and second segments and will have to make a stop under the green flag after the start of the second segment.
Fans can vote to eliminate a number of drivers after the second segment until the green flag for that segment. The choices are to eliminate no drivers or two, for, or six after the segment. If eliminations are voted in, the last two, four, or six finishers will not continue. If six cars are eliminated, a maximum of 16 cars will start the final segment.
Finally, fans can choose between three different styles of firesuit to be worn by Miss Sprint Cup in Victory Lane. That vote is open until the green flag on the final segment. In addition, fans at Daytona on the day of the race will select the starting lineup. Options include setting the field in numerical order by car number (which would put Kasey Kahne on the pole), by their 2012 points finish (Jimmie Johnson on pole), or by their speeds in practice for the event.
Drivers eligible for the event include:
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Martin Truex, Jr.
Juan Pablo Montoya
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