Changes await field of Sprint Unlimited?


The eligibility list for the Sprint Unlimited was unveiled Monday by NASCAR, which likely will replace at least one of the 25 drivers for the exhibition opener at Daytona.

The 75-lap event, which will be split into two segments of 25 and 50 laps for the second consecutive season, will include 2015 pole position winners, past Sprint Unlimited winners, former Daytona 500 pole winners and last season’s Chase field.

That means Jeff Gordon, who started his final Daytona 500 from the pole last year, and David Gilliland, who qualified first for the Great American Race in 2007, are eligible. Gordon retired after the 2015 season, and Gilliland hasn’t confirmed if he has a full-time ride in NASCAR’s premier series for 2016.

If Gordon, Gilliland or any other eligible driver doesn’t race in the Sprint Unlimited, NASCAR would fill any voids through the 2015 points standings. The first five alternates are Casey Mears, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Sam Hornish Jr., David Ragan and Trevor Bayne.

There were four drivers who withdrew from last year’s race: AJ Allmendinger, Brian Vickers, Brian Scott and Gilliland.

Starting position and pit selections will be chosen in the Daytona International Speedway Fanzone on Friday, Feb. 12 at 3:30 p.m. in a random drawing in which crew chiefs are paired with fans.

Here is the list of eligible drivers (and their qualifications) for the Sprint Unlimited:

2015 pole 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

Sprint Unlimited winners:

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Tony Stewart

Daytona 500 pole winners:

Greg Biffle

Austin Dillon

David Gilliland

Danica Patrick

Martin Truex Jr.

Chase for the Sprint Cup, 2015:

Clint Bowyer

Jamie McMurray

Paul Menard

Ryan Newman

Remaining slots filled by Sprint Cup driver points:

Aric Almirola

Kyle Larson