NASCAR Sprint Cup Season Will Begin with Unlimited Surprises

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent IJanuary 21, 2013

CONCORD, NC - JANUARY 21:  Mike Joy speaks at the Sprint Unlimited Announcement on January 21, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jamey Price/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jamey Price/Getty Images

On the initial day of the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway we discovered that the fans will have unlimited opportunity to participate in the outcome of the first official 2013 race at Daytona.

The debut of the Gen 6 race car in racing conditions will be "The Sprint Unlimited" non-points event on Saturday, Feb. 16.

Fans will be able to determine the length of each of the three race segments; if there will be a pit stop after the first segment and, if so, how many tires; how many cars will be eliminated after the second segment; and last but not least, what style fire suit Miss Sprint Cup will wear.

The race format will be 40/20/15, 35/30/10 or 30/25/20. Some fans may want to see a good ol' 10-lap shootout, but it remains to be seen what the voting will dictate.

Should the fans choose not to have a pit stop after the first segment, drivers may choose to be more cautious. A four-tire change would make for optimal racing.

The number of cars that could be eliminated—two, four, six or none—could be game-changing for the tone of the race. If six cars are going to be eliminated after the second segment, it is for sure there won't be any drivers just cruising at the back of the field.

Drivers by nature want to be the first driver to win at a new track, or in a new race and especially with a new model car like the Gen 6. The Sprint Unlimited is a new style of race and we have a car that has yet to be proven in race conditions.

Expect this first race to be highly competitive, and the teams must have a scenario for whatever factors come to fruition as a result of the fan input.

Drivers like to know about strategy ahead of time, as do teams, but that is not the case with this event. They will have to have adjustable game plans when it is time for pit stops, and drivers will need to be aggressive.

Jeff Gordon stated (via SpeedwayMedia.com), "As a driver, the thing I love about this race is it's short, it's intense, you have to push hard every single lap."

He added, "You don't know if you can be eliminated, you don't know if it might be no tires, four tires or two tires. Those types of things are going to make you as a driver just push as hard as you can every single lap and just keep it out there on the edge."

Fans will be able to vote unlimited times through NASCAR.com/SprintUnlimited or using the new mobile app NASCAR Mobile '13. Voting for elimination, pit stops and Miss Sprint Cup will continue until the race is underway.

This race was formerly known as the Budweiser Shootout. It will be broadcast live on Fox at 8 p.m. ET on Feb. 16.

Quotes used in this article were courtesy of official press releases


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