NASCAR is polling fans to decide on the details of the format of the new curtain-raiser to the 2013 season, the Sprint Unlimited At Daytona International Speedway on February 16.
The non-championship exhibition race replaces the former Budweiser Shootout as the first race of the year for NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers who had succeeded in claiming a pole position during the previous season. It takes place at the start of Daytona Speedweek, the weekend before the Daytona 500 that kicks off the Sprint Cup championship proper.
The vote offers fans the chance to choose from several different options comprising the overall format of the event, and the teams and drivers won't know the outcome on some aspects until after the action gets underway.
The first part of the vote is to set the number of laps in each of the three parts of the event, with the options consisting of dividing up the 75-lap race distance into runs of either 40/20/15, 35/30/10 or 30/25/20. That vote will close on the Wednesday before the race weekend, so that teams and drivers will be able to prepare accordingly.
The other votes will be open right until the green flag flies at the start of the race, and offers fans the choice to set their preferred format for pit stops and the elimination process. Teams and drivers will be informed by radio during the first segment as to the outcomes of the poll.
The pit stop set will determine what teams can do with the mandatory first stop after the first segment of the race. The options are either two tyres or four tyres, or not having any pit stop at all.
The elimination options determine the number of cars eliminated and required to park after the second segment, meaning that they take no further part in the outcome of the race. Fans can opt to bench either the last two, four or six cars on track when the segment concludes.
Visitors to the voting site at NASCAR.com/SprintUnlimited
and through the US-only Sprint mobile app will also be able to vote for the design of the fire suit worn by the Miss Sprint Cup trophy girl for the Victory Lane celebrations.
“Giving fans such a strong voice in the design of the race is a fitting way to launch our 10th season in the sport,” said Steve Gaffney, who is vice president of corporate marketing for the Sprint mobile telephone service provider. “We are giving them the ultimate access to the sport, the decision-making power to sculpt the type of race they want to see. With today's technology, they can make these decisions in real time as the race is happening.”