On Thursday, NASCAR unveiled the 2015 Sprint Fan Vote, where race fans can vote a driver who otherwise would not have qualified into the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. For 2015, the rules are similar, but a little different.
As in past years, fans can vote by either going to NASCAR’s special website to vote, or by using the NASCAR Mobile app. Fans are eligible to vote once per day and are encouraged to take advantage of the multiple votes. New for 2015 is the extra weight given to social media. Fans that share their votes through Twitter or Facebook will have their votes count double.
In order to be eligible for the Sprint Fan Vote, a driver must be approved by NASCAR to race in the Sprint Cup Series. In addition, they must have attempted to qualify for the Daytona 500 back in February and must at least start the Sprint Showdown. Regan Smith and Matt Crafton, who raced in the Daytona 500 while subbing for Kurt and Kyle Busch, respectively, are ineligible for the vote because they did not attempt to qualify for the race. Drivers do not need to race for Sprint Cup points in order to be eligible. As a result, 32 drivers are currently eligible. If one of those 32 drivers win between now and the end of the voting period (7 p.m. on Friday, May 15, prior to the start of the Sprint Showdown), they will be scrubbed from the list and not replaced.
While the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote will be known prior to the start of the Sprint Showdown, the results will not officially be announced until Saturday night prior to the start of the Sprint All-Star Race. That driver will start at the back of the grid.
For the Sprint All-Star Race itself, NBC Sports’ NASCAR Talk is reporting that NASCAR has made a slight change to the eligibility rules for the race. Now, any full-time past Sprint Cup champion and/or any full-time former winner of the Sprint All-Star Race is automatically in the field. Previously, champions and former Sprint All-Star Race winners were eligible, but only for 10 years. The rule change adds Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman, who otherwise would have been forced to race into the field through the Sprint Showdown, into the Sprint All-Star Race.
Adding Kenseth and Newman brings the number of drivers locked into the Sprint All-Star Race to 17. In May, the top-two finishers in the Sprint Showdown and the Sprint Fan Vote winner will also be added.
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