2015 Sprint Unlimited field taking shape
Just over one week before the first green flag of the 2015 NASCAR season drops at Daytona International Speedway, the field for the 37th Sprint Unlimited is taking shape.
Per the revitalized rules, all 16 drivers that qualified for the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup are eligible for Saturday night's 75-lap race, as well the 2014 Coors Light Pole Award winners, former Sprint Unlimited winners and past Daytona 500 pole winners.
While the eligibility has opened up to 25 drivers, not all those eligible to compete are taking advantage of the extra seat time.
AJ Allmendinger's team lacked the sponsorship necessary to field a car and will sit out the event as a result. Brian Scott won the pole at Talladega Superspeedway last season, but will not compete either. As part of his on-going recovery, Brian Vickers will miss the exhibition event as he awaits his return to the car at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
With these three drivers skipping the Sprint Unlimited, Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard and Casey Mears have all applied for entry into next Saturday's 75-lap race.
Bowyer, Menard and Mears were the next highest drivers in the 2014 standings that did not qualify for the event under the current roles. Marcos Ambrose would have been eligible before Mears, but left NASCAR at the end of the season to compete in the Australian V8 Supercars Series.
The next eligible driver, if another entry were to drop out, would be Roush Fenway Racing's Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Coverage of the Sprint Unlimited kicks off Saturday, Feb. 14 with NASCAR RaceDay on FOX Sports 1 at 6 p.m. ET, with coverage switching to FOX at 8 p.m. ET for the green flag.