By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
Distributed by The Sports Xchange
CONCORD, N.C. -- Never before have fans had the sort of immediate impact on the structure and conduct of a NASCAR event as they will with this year's Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway.
The title sponsor of NASCAR's foremost series also has assumed sponsorship of the Feb. 16 season opening exhibition race at the 2.5-mile speedway, previously known as the Daytona Shootout. Eligible drivers include previous winners of the event as well as Coors Light pole winners from the 2012 season.
In voting that closes Wednesday, Feb. 13, fans will decide the race format itself, in terms of how the 75 laps are divided into three segments. The choices are 40/20/15, 35/30/10 and 30/25/20. Fans also will determine the starting order of the field -- whether it's by order of points finish, practice speed or by car number.
In voting that doesn't close until the green flag flies to start the race, fans will decide whether drivers must pit for four tires, two tires or not at all after the first segment.
By the time the green waves to start the second segment, fans will have determined whether drivers will be eliminated from the field after two segments, and if so, how many. The choices are two, four or six drivers eliminated, or none at all.
In voting that closes at the green flag for the final segment, fans can choose among three designs for the fire suit Miss Sprint Cup will wear in Victory Lane.
"We really tried to challenge ourselves to give fans a real choice that was going to make a difference in the way this race unfolds," said Tim Considine, director of sports marketing at Sprint Nextel. "I think we've achieved it.
"Anybody that's watched Sprint and how we like to do things in the sport, I think you would be surprised if we were to take on this race and just put our name on it. We want to try again to find ways to bring energy, to bring impact... I feel like we've achieved that, and I can't wait to see how this unfolds."
Fans can vote by visiting NASCAR.com/SprintUnlimited on the web or by downloading the mobile app NASCAR Mobile '13. In the spirit of the Unlimited event, fans can vote as many times as they wish. Votes cast on the mobile app count double.