Picks For The Win: Sprint Unlimited @ Daytona

Picks For The Win is back!

It’s the Sprint “Unlimited” (ironically the shortest race of the season.)  It’s just for pole sitters last year, former Daytona pole sitters and drivers who won that race before.  There’s no points, but there’s a healthy bonus if you win.  So there’s plenty of motivation.

If you want to skip my abnormal preamble and go straight to my picks, please don’t hesitate to scroll down to the bottom.  The criteria for getting into the rest of the races isn’t nearly as complicated as this one.  So that’s the reason for all the explanation.

Here’s the official format, for those of you who are confused.

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Source: www.jayski.com

Sprint Unlimited format unveiled: NASCAR announced that the season-opening 75-lap Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 14, will be split into two segments. A competition caution at lap 25 will separate the segments in the non-points event, scheduled for an 8:15pm/et start (live on FOX, Motor Racing Network Radio, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). New 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. 13 at the FDOT Main Stage inside the Sprint FANZONE beginning at 3:30pm. The field of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will include 2014 Coors Light Pole Award winners, former Sprint Unlimited race winners and Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full time in 2014, and all 16 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers from 2014. If an eligible driver does not enter the race, the open position will be filled based on 2014 Championship driver points. The first five provisional drivers, respectively, are #15-Clint Bowyer, #27-Paul Menard, Marcos Ambrose, #13-Casey Mears, and #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(NASCAR)(2-5-2015)

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So now you understand how drivers get into this special event.  Here’s a look at who’s in.

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Source: www.jayski.com

2015 Sprint Unlimited Field to feature Chase drivers, Daytona 500 pole winners UPDATE: Coming off an exciting 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale, NASCAR announced all 16 Chase drivers will be eligible to compete in the 2015 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway. The 75-lap, non-points race will once again kick off the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing season Saturday, Feb. 14 (FOX, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and will feature an expanded field of drivers based on new eligibility requirements. A minimum of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers are eligible to participate in the Sprint Unlimited at DIS. In addition to the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup participants, the field also will include 2014 Coors Light Pole Award winners, as well as former Sprint Unlimited race winners and Daytona 500 pole winners who competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series full time in 2014. Any remaining spots will be filled by drivers highest in 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship points who are not already eligible. The 2015 eligible participants include:
” #18-Kyle Busch (2014 pole winner)
” #3-Austin Dillon (2014 pole winner)
” #24-Jeff Gordon (2014 pole winner)
” #38-David Gilliland (2014 pole winner)
” #11-Denny Hamlin (2014 pole winner)
” #4-Kevin Harvick (2014 pole winner)
” #48-Jimmie Johnson (2014 pole winner)
” #20-Matt Kenseth (2014 pole winner)
” #2-Brad Keselowski (2014 pole winner)
” #42-Kyle Larson (2014 pole winner)
” #22-Joey Logano (2014 pole winner)
” #1-Jamie McMurray (2014 pole winner)
” #29?/#33?-Brian Scott (2014 pole winner)(may not have a ride for the event)
” #14-Tony Stewart (2014 pole winner)
” #55-Brian Vickers* (2014 pole winner)(will not run due to illness)
” #41-Kurt Busch (former Unlimited winner)
” #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (former Unlimited winner)
” #19-Carl Edwards (former D500 pole winner)
” #10-Danica Patrick (former D500 pole winner)
” #16-Greg Biffle (former D500 pole winner)
” #78-Martin Truex Jr. (former D500 pole winner)
” #31-Ryan Newman (2014 Chase driver)
” #47-AJ Allmendinger (2014 Chase driver)(team has decided not to run the event)
” #5-Kasey Kahne (2014 Chase driver)
” #43-Aric Almirola (2014 Chase driver)
next in line if any of the above do not chose to run the Sprint Unlimited
” #15-Clint Bowyer (19th in drivers points)
” #27-Paul Menard (21st in drivers points)
” #13-Casey Mears (26th in drivers points)
” #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (26th in drivers points)
(* – Michael Waltrip Racing today announced that Brian Vickers will not be available to race during the early part of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season due to health issues.) (NASCAR),for more information, check out Jayski’s Sprint Unlimited Race page.(12-15-2014)
UPDATE: If the race expands to 25 to meet the minimum because of Vickers missing the race, his teammate #15-Clint Bowyer would get in. Bowyer is neither a former race winner of the Unlimited or Daytona 500 pole winner and was 19th in the 2014 points standings. Drivers 1-18 all are eligible for the race.(Yahoo Sports)(12-17-2014/2-1-2015)

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Now, without further to do, here are my picks for the win for the Sprint Unlimited.

No Brainers

1. #24 Jeff Gordon.  It’s his last season in NASCAR so Rick Hendrick is going  to give him everything he needs to succeed

2.  #48 Jimmie Johnson.  He will be a threat despite Rick Hendrick giving Jeff Gordon everything he needs to succeed this season.

3. #41 Kurt Busch. He’ll be happy to get back to the track after his off season has been taken up with being in court…and when you’re happy, you drive better.

Guys To Watch

1. #19 Carl Edwards.  New team for Edwards this year as he joins Joe Gibbs Racing along with Matt Kenseth (Former teammate at Roush), Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Busch.  Change can bring out the best in people.  There’s no reason why Edwards won’t be solid out of the box.

2. #2 Brad Keselowski.  He’ll do anything to win, even if he has to wreck and fight the entire field.  Should be interesting.

3.  #31 Ryan Newman.  He was driving incredibly by the end of last season.  Will this continue into this year?

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