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Motorsports 101 Debate: Sprint Unlimited Voting Open, What Would We Vote?

January 23rd, 2013 at 12:19 PM
By Mark Eddinger

Since 1979 NASCAR has held a preliminary event prior to the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. It used to be called the Busch Clash and then the Budweiser Shootout. This year the race has changed names due to sponsorship and will now be known as the Sprint Unlimited.

With the name change NASCAR has decided to do something unique and will let the fans decided the segment lengths, whether there is a pit stop, and how many cars should get eliminated for the first time. To submit your own vote go here. You have until February 13 to vote on the segment lengths and until February 16 to vote on the pit stop and number of drivers eliminated. Whatever the fans end up voting for, the Sprint Unlimited should provide plenty of fireworks.
 
'fireworks' photo (c) 2009, Katy Warner - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
 
Motorsports 101 shares what they are voting for:
 
Clayton Caldwell
 
I really enjoy the fact that NASCAR is letting the fans decide on how the race should be run. I like how it’s regulated to only three or four options. If it was any more than that and fans were voting for five or six different things, I think it would have been really silly. I also like the fact that the voting will be closed before the race, especially when it comes to the eliminations, because if fans saw their favorite driver or drivers struggling they would vote for no eliminations and that would sway the vote. I have voted several times and here are my choices to what I have decided on doing for the Sprint Unlimited.

The first vote is the segment. There are three options for lengths of segments. The race can be divided into either 40/20/15 laps, 35/30/10 laps or 30/25/20 laps. While I have no idea what votes are in front I think the ten lap shootout at the end is going to win. I think fans like an all out shootout at the end and it only gives the drivers a little time to get up to the front which could also make the end of segment two very interesting.
 
The second vote is a pit stop at the end of the segment. The options for that is no stop, a two tire stop or a four tire pit stop. I was kind of torn on this one. I would like the fact that there would be no pit stop and drivers would be driving on old tires, making the cars ill handling and making the racing more exciting for fans. However, when drivers are on old tires they are very conservative and it makes the car not feel as stable and they don’t perform the moves they normally would. Therefore, I would like to see teams take four tires and go at it from there. The tires will be worn towards the end of the third segment anyway but not too worn to where things won’t be out of control.
 
'pit road' photo (c) 2008, Katy Warner - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
 
The third vote is the eliminations at the end of segment two. I love this option. It’s quite possibly the best option NASCAR has put into the race. Some fans, and rightfully so, dislike the fact that a driver can lay back in the shootout and keep their car out of trouble and collect the earnings. With eliminations that is not going to be an option. The options are 0 cars, 2 cars, 4 cars or 6 cars. Heck I wish they decided to eliminate all drivers that were not in the top ten. This way it would make the back of the pack race hard and create exciting racing and make the best car all night win. However, that will not be the case. Twenty-two drivers are eligible for the event and if you eliminate six that would leave 16 drivers racing the final shootout. That would be fun. I vote six every time because I want to see an exciting race throughout the pack. It would make the guys laying in the back race and make the best car all night win. That’s how it should be.
 
Mark Eddinger
 
The idea to let the fans vote on aspects of the Sprint Unlimited can only be seen as a good one on NASCAR’s part. It is an exhibition event that does not pay points. It is there for entertainment purposes and in this day and age fans like to be hands on when they are being entertained. 
 
I have voted a few times already for the way I would like to see the race play out. For the segment length I like the 40/20/15 option. My selection is swayed by my choice for the pit stop vote. I vote that at the end of segment one there is no pit stop. While I don’t think this will be the option that wins, I like it. By running 40 laps and then not letting teams make a pit stop at the end of the segment this will force teams to make a green flag pit stop or a pit stop under caution in segment two. While I don’t know the exact pit window that the Gen-6 cars can reach they will either need to make a stop near the end of segment one or in segment two. 
 
The way I figure it, this will put strategy into the race. Pit crews are an important part of the sport and green flag stops are the most pressure one’s that the crew can face. While this takes away a 10 lap dash to the win, the final segment will be 15 laps which is still a short sprint and should provide plenty of excitement.
 
As far as the number of cars to be eliminated at the end of segment two I vote for six. It should be the option that wins. Like Clayton said, it will create more pressure on the teams and drivers in the first two segments to race hard so that they do not get eliminated. It will also put pressure on the pit crews themselves and on the strategy implemented during the race because if there is a slip up then there is a good chance that you will not be running the final segment for a chance at victory.
 
The Sprint Unlimited will be live on FOX at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 16.
Tags: budweiser shootout, Busch Clash, Daytona International Speedway, Motorsports, NASCAR, Sprint Unlimited

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