NASCAR has unveiled the 25 drivers eligible to compete in the Feb. 13 Sprint Unlimited, the unofficial kickoff to the 2016 season at Daytona International Speedway.
“We’re ready to go,” NASCAR vice president Steve O’Donnell said in a release. “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.”
The 25 eligible NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers include the 2015 pole winners, last season’s Chase members, former Sprint Unlimited race winners and former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2015.
While Jeff Gordon is technically eligible for the race, Casey Mears will likely take his spot as any remaining open positions are filled based on the 2015 Sprint Cup 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 pole 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 Sprint Cup Series championship driver points
Aric Almirola, Kyle Larson.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Sam Hornish Jr., David Ragan and Trevor Bayne would be next in line should any driver besides Gordon decide not to participate in the race.
Sportact Editors and Wire Services