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The 2013 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway

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The 2013 Sprint Unlimited:

This Saturday night the NASCAR season will start with an non-points race featuring NASCAR's biggest stars at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR continuously tinkers with the format for this event but never in the history of the sport has there been anything quite like this. The fans will decide many key aspects of this event and will likely, indirectly, influence the outcome of this race.

When and Where to Watch:

The 2013 Sprint Unlimited is a new name for the non-points event traditionally held the weekend before the Daytona 500. This year the race is Saturday night February 16th, 2013.

The best place to watch the 2013 Sprint Unlimited from is, of course, the stands at Daytona International Speedway. If you plan to be in the area you can purchase tickets for this event and all other 2013 Speedweeks events online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

If you can't make it to the track then the race will be broadcast live on FOX at 8PM on Saturday night February 16th.

How To Qualify For the 2013 Sprint Unlimited:

Last year points position helped determine who was eligible for this event. In 2013 NASCAR has thrown that out the window and returned to the original purpose for this race. The 2013 Sprint Unlimited field will consist of:
  • Drivers that won a pole in 2012
  • Previous winners of this event who did not win a pole in 2012
This means that 22 drivers are eligible for the race however three drivers: A.J. Allmendinger, Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte will not participate leaving nineteen drivers expected to take the green flag on Saturday night.

The Fans Will Have Their Say:

This year NASCAR fans will have unprecedented control over the event. Fan votes will determine many key aspects of the race such as:
  • Fan vote at the track will determine the starting lineup
  • Online fan vote will determine how the 75 lap distance will be broken up into segments
  • Online fan vote will determine if there will be a mandatory pit stop and what will need to be done during the stop
  • Online fan vote will determine how many cars are eliminated at the end of the second segment
  • And Finally, an online fan vote will determine which fire suit design Miss Sprint Cup will wear in Victory Lane

Drivers Eligible for the 2013 Sprint Unlimited:

Given the above criteria then it is fairly simple to determine who is eligible for this year's Shootout.

The nineteen drivers expected to race on Saturday night are:

Gen 6 Car Makes It's Competition Debut:

One of the top stories of the weekend will be the formal introduction of the new "Gen 6" race car. While testing has been extensive during the off-season, including a test at Daytona International Speedway in January which ended in a huge crash, no one knows for sure how the new cars are going to race when the money is on the line.

Even with all the hype this event will likely see 74 laps of fairly cautious driving as the teams involved really don't want to bend up their race cars in an exhibition race that doesn't pay nearly as much as the Sprint All-Star Race. This is more or less a competitive test session for these teams until the last lap.

When that white flag flies the drivers' competitive juices get flowing and then it suddenly becomes all about winning, no matter the prize. Then sparks may fly as the drivers finish with a mad dash for the checkers and the glory. A win at Daytona is still an important win even if it's not the famed Daytona 500.

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