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The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season is nearly here, with Daytona International Speedway the site of the upcoming action. The big race of course will be the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 23. But the week before that, the top drivers in the world that are invited to compete will participate in the Sprint Unlimited At Daytona. This will be the first chance to see the drivers in action.
The Sprint Unlimited might better be known as the Budweiser Shootout, before it underwent a name change.
The field at the Sprint Unlimited is by invitation. There is no qualifying, however the field largely consists of the highest-ranked drivers from the season before. There are only 28 total drivers in the field, which is 15 less than what will be seen at the Daytona 500 the week following.
There is no qualifying times for the Sprint Unlimited for the starting grid. The start positions will be entirely up to a random draw combined with fan voting. This is something that NASCAR concocted last year giving fans a say in how the starting grid will be ordered. Since this is not an official event that counts towards points, NASCAR wanted to do this to give fans the opportunity to vote for their favorite drivers.
Oddsmakers are all over the coverage of the 2014 Sprint Unlimited. Bovada Sportsbook has already come out with Sprint Unlimited betting lines. Many of the top names in the sport are right at the top. This includes the 2013 Sprint Unlimited champion Kevin Harvick. In total, there are four drivers set with equal 7/1 payouts at the top of the list. In addition to Harvick, we can add on Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, and Matt Kenseth. All four of these drivers have won the Daytona 500 and other events at Daytona International Speedway. In fact, to be considered among the great drivers you almost have to win at Daytona in some fashion.
There are plenty of drivers in the mix just behind the four favorites though. Defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson is right there at 8/1. Johnson won his six-career Sprint Cup Championship last season and will be a force to be reckoned with once again this season.
Of the big favorites though, Harvick has to be the one with a slight edge. He has won three of the last five in this event, including back-to-back titles in 2009-10.
In fact, you’ve had to have the last name Harvick or Busch in each of the last five or you wouldn’t see the podium. Kyle Busch (2012) and Kurt Busch (2011) each won the shootout as well.
This race will be under the lights on Saturday February 15th beginning at 8 pm ET. Coverage of the race can be seen on Fox Sports 1.
Below, LatestBettingOdds.com has the real-time payout from Bovada that are automatically updated. These lines will be available up until the start of the race on Saturday.