Bud Shootout to be called The Sprint Unlimited

Jared C. Tilton

In a name that doesn't necessarily roll off the tongue and sounds more like a data package, the NASCAR race formerly known as the Budweiser Shootout will be rebranded as the Sprint Unlimited.

The move was first reported by the Sports Business Journal and comes on the heels of an announcement last February that formally ended Anheuser-Busch's association with the race it had sponsored since its inception in 1979.

According to SBJ, Sprint has signed a "multiyear deal" to sponsor the non-points event valued at "six figures per a year."

The name change coincides with a return to the original premise for the exhibition race, as the only drivers now eligible will be those who won a pole the previous season, in addition to former winners.

However, the rule change makes Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski and second-place finisher Clint Bowyer ineligible. The two drivers combined to win eight races and 46 top 10's - yet because neither won a pole during the 2012 season both will be on the sidelines for the event to be held Feb. 16 at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR has yet to announce a format for the newly titled Sprint Unlimited, but it will almost certainly consist of a long opening segment to be followed by a sprint to the checkered flag.

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