Sprint Unlimited gets fan-heavy makeover
January 21, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Race fans will be able to determine several competition-related procedures for this year’s Sprint Unlimited, ranging from the breakdown of the race format to the possible elimination of drivers following the second of three segments in the 75-lap event.
Even the design of the fire suit Miss Sprint Cup will wear in Victory Lane is decided via fan vote.
The voting program, details of which were announced Jan. 20, was developed as Sprint took over sponsorship of the season-opening non-points race at Daytona International Speedway.
The Sprint Unlimited At Daytona, previously known as the Budweiser Shootout, officially kicks off the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season Saturday, Feb. 16.
“We are entering our 10th season as the title sponsor of the series and each year we challenge ourselves to improve upon the previous year,” said Kimberly Meesters, manager of Sprint’s NASCAR Cup sponsorship program. “The Sprint Unlimited At Daytona offers both national exposure and an innovative way for us to bring fans closers to the sport.”
Fan vote will be used to determine the following:
• Race Format. The breakdown (lap count) for each of the three segments of the 75-lap event.
Options: 30/25/20 laps; 40/20/15 laps; or 35/30/10 laps.
• Pit Stop. Should there be a required pit stop at the end of the first segment?
Options: No pit stop; Yes, and include a two-tire change; Yes, with four-tire change.
• Elimination. How many cars should be eliminated at the conclusion of the second segment?
Options: None; two cars; four cars; six cars.
Fans may vote by logging onto NASCAR.com, and by downloading the NASCAR Mobile ’13 app. Each vote cast through NASCAR Mobile ’13 will count as two votes.
Previously announced fan elements include the opportunity to serve as grand marshal, honorary starter and trophy presenter during the event. Other opportunities will allow fans to help deliver the trophy to the winner’s circle and participate in pre-race driver introductions.
“This is definitely the most extensive role fans have played in any one race,” said Tim Considine, director of sports marketing for Sprint. “We worked closely with Daytona and NASCAR to develop this concept. We pushed the envelope on a few things and probably got all of us out of our comfort zone, but we were very pleased with the final product.”
Twenty-two drivers are eligible for this year’s race, either by winning a Cup pole in 2012 or as a previous winner of the event. Previous event winners must have attempted to qualify for at least one race in 2012.
Last season’s pole winners:
Martin Truex Jr.
Juan Pablo Montoya
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Past event champions who meet standards: