NASCAR announces the 25 drivers eligible for season-opening Sprint Unlimited

Cars zip around Daytona International Speedway during last year's Sprint Unlimited.

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

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 3:30 p.m.

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 AJ Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano

Former Sprint Unlimited Race Winners  Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart

Former DAYTONA 500 Coors Light Pole Award winners  Greg Biffle, Austin Dillon, David Gilliland, Danica Patrick, Martin Truex Jr.

2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers –Clint Bowyer, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman

2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship driver points  Aric Almirola, Kyle Larson.

If an eligible driver does not enter the race, the open position will be filled based on 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship driver points. The first five provisional drivers are Casey Mears, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Sam Hornish Jr., David Ragan and Trevor Bayne.

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