Eligible Drivers and Format Announced for 2016 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona
NASCAR announced the 25 eligible drivers and the format for the season-opening 75-lap Sprint Unlimited at the new Daytona International Speedway motorsports stadium on Saturday, Feb. 13. The event, which will be broadcast live on FOX, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, marks the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race following the completion of DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch redevelopment project that has transformed Daytona International Speedway into the first motorsports stadium in the world. “We’re ready to go,” said NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell. “The anticipation for this season, this event and this venue is unprecedented. We are excited how the new stadium will provide a state-of-the-art showcase for the brightest stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.”
Once again, the non-points event will be split into two segments with a competition caution at lap 25 separating the segments. A popular element introduced before the 2015 event returns this year: select fans will be paired with each crew chief for a random drawing to determine starting and pit road positions. The drawings will take place on Friday, Feb. 12 at the Alert Today Florida Stage inside the Sprint FANZONE beginning at 3:30pm/et.
The 25 eligible NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers include the 2015 Coors Light Pole Award winners, former Sprint Unlimited race winners and former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full time in 2015. All 16 drivers from the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup are also eligible for the race, and any remaining open positions are filled based on 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship driver points.
Eligible drivers are
2015 Coors Light Pole Awards winners
· #47-AJ Allmendinger, #41-Kurt Busch, #18-Kyle Busch, #19-Carl Edwards, #11-Denny Hamlin, #4-Kevin Harvick, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #5-Kasey Kahne, #20-Matt Kenseth, #2-Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon(retired), #22-Joey Logano
Former Sprint Unlimited Race Winners
· #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #14-Tony Stewart
Former DAYTONA 500 Coors Light Pole Award winners
· #16-Greg Biffle, #3-Austin Dillon, #TBA-David Gilliland, #10-Danica Patrick, #78-Martin Truex Jr.
2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers:
· #15-Clint Bowyer, #1-Jamie McMurray, #27-Paul Menard, #31-Ryan Newman
2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship driver points:
· #43-Aric Almirola, #42-Kyle Larson.
If an eligible driver does not enter the race (such as Jeff Gordon-retired), the open position will be filled based on 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship driver points. The first five provisional drivers are #13-Casey Mears, #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Sam Hornish Jr.(no ride), David Ragan(no ride) and #6-Trevor Bayne.
Race Information and Track Specifications
Track/Race Length: 2.5 mile oval, 75 laps, 187.5 miles
Tri-oval with 31-degree banking in the turns
18-degree banking in the tri-oval and 6-degree banking on the straightaways
Date track opened: 1959
Banking in turns 1-4: 31 degrees
Banking in tri-oval: 18 degrees
Banking on backstretch: 3 degrees
Banking on the straightaway: 6 degrees
Length of frontstretch: 3,800 feet
Length of backstretch: 3,400 feet
Grandstand Seating: 101,500
Pit Road Speed: 55 mph
Pace Car Speed: 70 mph
Pit Road Length: 1,600 feet
Pit Road Width: 50 feet
Grand Marshal: TBA
Command to start engines: TBA
Honorary Starter/Wave Green Flag: TBA
Honor Guard: TBA
National Anthem: TBA
Thursday, February 11
6:30 PM NSCS HAULERS ENTER
Friday, February 12
12:00 PM 9:00 PM NSCS GARAGE OPEN
3:30 PM NSCS RANDOM DRAWING & DRAWING FOR PIT SELECTION
5:00 – 5:55 PM NSCS 1st Sprint Unlimited PRACTICE (Fox Sports 1)
6:30 – 7:25 PM NSCS Sprint Unlimited FINAL PRACTICE (Fox Sports 1)
Saturday, February 13
8:00 AM – 11:00 PM NSCS GARAGE OPENS
6:15 PM NSCS DRIVER / CREW CHIEF MEETING
7:50 PM NSCS DRIVER INTRODUCTIONS
8:15 PM NSCS RACE (Fox)
Goodyear Tire Notes
Tire: Goodyear Eagle Superspeedway Radials
Set limits: Unlimited: 6 sets for the event;
Tire Codes: Left-side — D-4596; Right-side — D-4600
Tire Circumference: Left-side — 87.91 in. (2,233 mm); Right-side — 88.39 in. (2,245 mm)
Minimum Recommended Inflation:
Left Front — 27 psi; Left Rear — 27 psi;
Right Front — 50 psi; Right Rear — 48 psi
Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same Goodyear tire codes at Daytona throughout Speedweeks . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that these teams have run at Daytona since July 2013 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Daytona . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.
Goodyear Blimp: Goodyear’s “Wingfoot One,” based out of Pompano Beach. Fla., will be in the air over Daytona International Speedway throughout Speedweeks . . . the ship will be a part of Fox and Fox Sports 1’s television coverage of the Sprint Unlimited and Sprint Cup qualifying during the first week, and the Can-Am Duel and the Camping World Truck, Xfinity and Sprint Cup races during the second week.
Records and Facts
By the Numbers: The Sprint Unlimited:
.013 – Margin of victory in seconds by Kyle Busch over Tony Stewart in 2012, the closest margin in Sprint Unlimited history
.058 – Margin of victory in seconds by Kurt Busch over Jamie McMurray in 2011, the second closest margin in Sprint Unlimited history
.08 – Margin of victory in seconds by Dale Earnhardt over Sterling Marlin in 1995, the third closest margin in Sprint Unlimited history
1 – Laps led by Rusty Wallace (1998), Neil Bonnett (1983-84), Dale Earnhardt (1980), Dale Jarrett (2000 and 2004) and Kevin Harvick (2009) in the Sprint Unlimited races they won
2.75 – Average finish by Dale Earnhardt, best by any driver with multiple starts
5 – Drivers who have won the event in their first appearance (Buddy Baker, 1979; Dale Earnhardt, 1980; Jeff Gordon, 1994; Dale Jarrett, 1996; Denny Hamlin, 2006)
6 – Number of Sprint Unlimited wins by Dale Earnhardt, the series leader
7 – Number of fewest starters in the field for the Sprint Unlimited (1981)
10 – Number of races led, the most since race began in 1979 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.)
11 – Number of starts before winning, most since race began in 1979 (Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin)
14 – Number of different leaders in the 2009 event, most since race began in 1979
20 – Number of wins by Chevrolet in the Sprint Unlimited, leads all manufacturers
21 – Most consecutive starts in the Sprint Unlimited by Jeff Gordon (1994-2014).
27 – Kevin Harvick’s starting position in 2009, the lowest by a race winner in the event’s history
28 – Number of lead changes in the 2011 event, highest number since race began in 1979
44 – Laps led by Greg Biffle in 2005, the most by a driver who did not win the event
47 – Laps led by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2008, the most in a single Sprint Unlimited was the 2013 event won by Kyle Busch.
197.802 mph – The fastest average speed of the race for the Sprint Unlimited was in 1987 won by Bill Elliott.
The Sprint Unlimited Tidbits:
– The number of participants has ranged from a low of seven in 1981 to a high of 28 in 2009 (25 are eligible for this year’s event).
– The drivers with the most Sprint Unlimited appearances:
o Mark Martin (24) o Bill Elliott (23) o Jeff Gordon (21) o Ken Schrader (19) o Rusty Wallace (19) – Jeff Gordon has appeared in the most consecutive Sprint Unlimited races, competing in 21 consecutive events from 1994-2014.
– There have been nine multiple winners in the Sprint Unlimited:
o Dale Earnhardt won six events, most all-time (1980, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995).
o Dale Jarrett won in 1996, 2000 and 2004.
o Kevin Harvick won in 2009, 2010 and 2013.
o Tony Stewart won in 2001, 2002 and 2007.
o Other multiple winners: Neil Bonnett (1983-1984), Ken Schrader, (1989-1990), Jeff Gordon (1994 and 1997), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003 and 2008) and Denny Hamlin (2006 and 2014).
o Bonnett, Schrader, Stewart and Harvick are the only drivers to win back-to-back Sprint Unlimited races. No driver has won three consecutive Sprint Unlimited events.
– Buddy Baker (1979, the first race for the event), Dale Earnhardt (1980), Jeff Gordon (1994), Dale Jarrett (1996) and Denny Hamlin (2006) all won the first Sprint Unlimited in which they competed.
– Only five times in the 32-year history of the race has the winner gone on to win the Daytona 500:
o Bobby Allison (1982)
o Bill Elliott (1987)
o Dale Jarrett (1996 and 2000)
o Jeff Gordon (1997)
– There have been four winners from the pole: Darrell Waltrip (1981), Bill Elliott (1987), Ken Schrader (1989) and Denny Hamlin (2014).
– Two drivers have swept the Sprint Unlimited, Daytona 500 pole and Daytona 500 from 1979-2014: Dale Jarrett (2000) and Bill Elliott (1987)(NASCAR)(2-13-2015)
The Sprint Unlimited Tidbits II:
– One driver has swept the Sprint Unlimited, Daytona 500 and the Coke Zero 400 from 1979-2014: Bobby Allison (1982).
– Seven drivers have won the Sprint Unlimited (1979-2014) and the championship in the same season. Dale Earnhardt is the only one to have accomplished it multiple times (four times):
Tony Stewart (2002)
Jeff Gordon (1997)
Dale Earnhardt (1993, 1991, 1986, 1982)
– Four drivers have won consecutive Sprint Unlimited races (1979-2014). None went on to win that year’s Daytona 500.
Kevin Harvick (2009-10)
Tony Stewart (2000-01)
Ken Schrader (1990-91)
Neil Bonnett (1983-84)
– The format for The Sprint Unlimited has changed 13 times since its inception into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 1979.
– Danica Patrick is the only female driver to have competed in the Sprint Unlimited (1979 – 2014) – she started 12th and finished 16th last season.(NASCAR)(2-13-2015)
The Sprint Unlimited Manufacturer Recap:
Manufacturer, Victories, Last Victory – Driver Chevrolet, 20, 2013 – Kevin Harvick(a)
Ford, 7, 2004 – Dale Jarrett
Toyota, 3, 2015 – Matt Kenseth(a)
Buick, 2, 1982 – Bobby Allison
Oldsmobile, 2, 1980 – Dale Earnhardt
Pontiac, 2, 2002 – Tony Stewart(a)
Dodge, 1, 2011 – Kurt Busch(a)
(a) = active driver
* 2015 season 14 Chevrolets, six Toyotas and five Fords are entered into the Sprint Unlimited.
Entry List / Drivers Eligible
Won poles in 2015 and are eligible for the 2016 Sprint Unlimited
1) #22-Joey Logano
2) #4-Kevin Harvick [won event in 2013, 2010, 2009]
3) #41-Kurt Busch [won event in 2011]
4) #20-Matt Kenseth [won event 2015]
5) #11-Denny Hamlin [won event 2014, 2006]
6) #5-Kasey Kahne
7) #47-AJ Allmendinger
8) #19-Carl Edwards [D500 pole 2012]
9) #18-Kyle Busch [won event 2012]
10) #2-Brad Keselowski
11) #48-Jimme Johnson [won event in 2005][D500 pole 2008, 2002]
#24-Jeff Gordon [won event in 1997, 1994][D500 pole 2015, 1999], retired end of 2015 season
Didn’t win a pole in 2015, but are eligible:
past Sprint Unlimited event winner:
#14-Tony Stewart [won event in 2007, 2002, 2001] – won’t race due to injury
12) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [won event in 2008][D500 pole 2011]
Former Daytona 500 pole winners:
13) #3-Austin Dillon [D500 pole 2014]
14) #10-Danica Patrick [D500 pole 2013]
15) #78-Martin Truex Jr. [D500 pole 2009]
16) #TBA-David Gilliland [D500 pole 2007] – no ride
17) #16-Greg Biffle [D500 pole 2004]
#32-Bobby Labonte [D500 pole 1998, 2002] (not listed as eligible)
2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers (not already in):
18) #1-Jamie McMurray
19) #31-Ryan Newman
20) #27-Paul Menard
21) #15-Clint Bowyer
2015 Drivers points until 25 drivers are entered (not already in):
22) #43-Aric Almirola
23) #42-Kyle Larson
24) #13-Casey Mears
25) #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr., added when Stewart was injured
If any driver above does not enter, goes to next in points (not already in):
Sam Hornish Jr.(no current ride)
David Ragan(no current ride)