Yep, the season starts on Saturday, with the Sprint Unlimited. After what always seems to be such a loooong winter, the cars get on the track and this time they'll be racing.
With the introduction of the Gen6 car for 2013, the old adage "Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday" comes back into play. Once again the cars on the track look much like the cars you can find in the showroom. However, the new car means weeks of testing, all over the country. They've been to Daytona, of course, Charlotte, Phoenix and Michigan. The teams have been hard at work and finally it is time to put all that testing to work. Saturday night, under the lights, the Sprint Unlimited gets underway. The fans have been voting on the format of the race, the pit stops, elimination of cars and even the firesuit to be worn by Miss Sprint Cup.
It's easy to vote, and can be done at NASCAR.com or by using the app on your mobile phone. Voting ends today on the Race Format. The selections are 40 laps for the fist segment, 20 for the second segment, and 15 laps for the last segment, or 35/3010, or 30/25/20.
Next, closing on the 16th, you can vote on the pit stops. At the end of the first segment, should cars be allowed to stay out and have no pit stop, be required to pit for 2 tires, or be required to pit for a 4 tire change.
This year, there is also a choice whether drivers should be eliminated after the second segment, and if so, how many. The choices are none, 2 cars, 4 cars or 6 cars.
The final question pertains to the firesuit to be worn by Miss Sprint Cup in Victory Lane, but honestly, I couldn't care less. Until I saw the question, I'm not sure that I ever really realized Miss Sprint Cup was in Victory Lane, and I know I certainly didn't care, but perhaps the male audience does care.
There are 19 cars competing in this year's race, and as usual, there will be some unique paint schemes. Jimmie Johnson will be driving a "Daytona Yellow" Chevrolet.
This year, there has been some switching up of sponsors, as well as some seat switching. It will take some getting used to not to see Matt Kenseth riding around the track in the 17. Instead, Matt will pilot the number 20 Ford for Penske Racing. Tony Stewart will debut his new sponsor, Bass Pro Shops. Dale Earnhardt Sr. is the winningest driver of this race, with 6, but Tony Stewart could inch ever closer and another win would put him at 4. Kyle Busch won the race last year but like everyone else, this will be a whole new experience, in a car that drives differently than the COT ever did. The announcement has been made that Kyle has signed an extension with Joe Gibbs Racing, although not all of the terms of that extension have been made public.
Will we see a "Big One" at this race? It's entirely possible, but with less than 20 cars on the track it is less likely than it might be with 43 cars running.
FOX will be back with the broadcast, and love him or hate him, Darryl "Jaws" Waltrip will be back, with Larry Mac, Jeff Hammond and the rest. It will be entertaining.
The entry list looks like this:
|12||Juan Pablo Montoya||Chevrolet|
|16||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota|
|18||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet|
So who are your picks?