NASCAR: What To Expect For 2016 Sprint Unlimited
The season-opening 75-lap Sprint Unlimited is upon us, and NASCAR has announced this year’s new rules, eligible drivers and the fate of Tony’s Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet.Advertisement
For the Daytona 500, teams and drivers will have to adopt a new point structure as well as qualifying process. Meanwhile, there will also be an added “overtime line” when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series gets underway at the Daytona International Speedway this weekend.
As far as the point scoring system goes, the race winner of the Sprint Cup will now be awarded 40 points instead of 43. Meanwhile, the second-place finisher will get 39 points and third place will get 38 points. This change will continue down the ranks with the 40th place finisher scoring one point. This change was done since the Sprint Cup race fields will now have a maximum of 40 cars made up of 36 Charter team cars and four Open team cars.
Nonetheless, NASCAR said that the total will not include bonus points awarded to the race winner or drivers awarded for leading the most laps or a single lap. At the same time, both XFINITY and Camping World Truck series will also see reconfiguration in its race points structure.
For the upcoming Daytona 500, all 36 Charter teams will be assigned a starting position. This will be based on their qualifying effort or the result of one of two Can-Am Duel races. Meanwhile, the Open teams will get to vie for the remaining four positions.
For this year, the eligible drivers for the 2016 Sprint Unlimited include AJ Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Austin Dillon, David Gilliland, Danica Patrick, Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman, Aric Almirola and Kyle Larson. Meanwhile, provisional drivers include Casey Mears, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Sam Hornish Jr., David Ragan and Trevor Bayne.
At the same time, NASCAR also announced that it has decided to make Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet eligible to race while NASCAR Executive Vice President & Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell also stated, “(Brian) Vickers is medically cleared.”
There has been no confirmation yet from Stewart-Haas Racing if Vicker’s will be temporarily taking Stewart’s place.
The Sprint Unlimited gets underway Saturday, February 13.