The 2014 NASCAR season kicks off unofficially on Saturday night with the 2014 Sprint Unlimited. The exhibition race is unique, with fan voting deciding the race format, starting grid and final segment restart order. Voting for the starting order and restart order remains open, but the format has been set.
The Sprint Unlimited is split into three segments. While the race was set for 75 laps, fans had the ability to vote on how the lap structure broke down. The first segment consists of 30 laps in all three scenarios with fans determining the length of the second and third segments. They could pick from a 30-35-10 lap format, 30-30-15 or 30-25-20. Voting concluded at 6 p.m. ET and fans picked the 30-25-20 lap format.
That decision is significant as fans will also determine the restart order for the final segment. With the restart order shuffling around, the length of the final segment could go a long way to determining the winner. Voting for the restart order of the final segment will conclude at the end of the second segment. The order will be determined by the fastest lap, most laps led or mandatory pit stop results.
Although no points will be on the line, the Sprint Unlimited could provide a positive omen. In the 32-year history of the race, five winners have also gone on to win the Daytona 500 while eight have gone on to claim the Sprint Cup, according to Fox Sports.