2/3rds of NASCAR drivers to start Sprint Unlimited race (It’s not very special anymore)

Coming off an exciting 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale, NASCAR announced Monday all 16 Chase drivers will be eligible to compete in the 2015 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona Int'l Speedway.

The 75-lap, non-points race will once again kick off the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing season Saturday, Feb. 14 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 Daytona. 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 Sprint Unlimited has potential to be one of the most competitive ever," said NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell. "With more drivers eligible, the intensity level increases for our fans and competitors, making for a compelling start to the 2015 season."

The 2015 eligible participants include:
• Kyle Busch (2014 pole winner)
• Austin Dillon (2014 pole winner)
• Jeff Gordon (2014 pole winner)
• David Gilliland (2014 pole winner)
• Denny Hamlin (2014 pole winner)
• Kevin Harvick (2014 pole winner)
• Jimmie Johnson (2014 pole winner)
• Matt Kenseth (2014 pole winner)
• Brad Keselowski (2014 pole winner)
• Kyle Larson (2014 pole winner)
• Joey Logano (2014 pole winner)
• Jamie McMurray (2014 pole winner)
• Brian Scott (2014 pole winner)
• Tony Stewart (2014 pole winner)
• Brian Vickers* (2014 pole winner)
• Kurt Busch (former Unlimited winner)
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (former Unlimited winner)
• Carl Edwards (former D500 pole winner)
• Danica Patrick (former D500 pole winner)
• Greg Biffle (former D500 pole winner)
• Martin Truex Jr. (former D500 pole winner)
• Ryan Newman (2014 Chase driver)
• AJ Allmendinger (2014 Chase driver)
• Kasey Kahne (2014 Chase driver)
• Aric Almirola (2014 Chase driver)

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