NASCAR eases eligibility for Sprint Unlimited race

NASCAR has eased the eligibility for its non-points Sprint Unlimited race to ensure that more star drivers will be allowed to participate

NASCAR eases eligibility for Sprint Unlimited race

Under the new rules, all 2014 Chase participants will be eligible, along with 2014 pole winners, previous Sprint Unlimited winners, and Daytona 500 pole winners who competed in Sprint Cup full-time this year.

Previously, the exhibition race was only open to past winners of the race and Cup pole winners from the previous year.

The changes open the door for eight drivers who would not otherwise have been eligible: Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Danica Patrick, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Martin Truex Jr.

Due to another tweak, the field will now be set at a minimum of 25.

Those places are already nominally filled, however news of Brian Vickers' recent medical problems mean that his place is likely to be offered to Clint Bowyer, who was the highest-placed ineligible driver in this year's points.

ELIGIBLE DRIVERS

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 Sprint Unlimited winner)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (former Sprint Unlimited winner)
Carl Edwards (former Daytona 500 pole winner)
Danica Patrick (former Daytona 500 pole winner)
Greg Biffle (former Daytona 500 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)

* Vickers will be unavailable on medical grounds

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