Stock cars have arrived for Speedweeks 2016 at Daytona International Speedway, with Thursday’s initial ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards practice session setting the table for Friday’s first appearance of the new season by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitors.
Thursday’s ARCA practice was for Saturday afternoon’s 53rd annual Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire. Chase Briscoe had the fastest lap in the two-hour session, 189.302 mph in the No. 77 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge. Qualifying for the Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire will be held Friday.
Also Friday, there will be two practices for Saturday night’s always-anticipated Sprint Unlimited, the annual 75-lap non-points event featuring 25 drivers, a group consisting of last season’s pole winners, former Sprint Unlimited champions and former DAYTONA 500 pole winners who competed full time in 2015. All 16 drivers from the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup are also eligible. Any remaining open positions are filled based on 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship driver points.
The various qualification criteria creates an elite field that will include reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, two-time DAYTONA 500 champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. and 2013 DAYTONA 500 pole winner Danica Patrick.
The non-points event will be divided into two segments with a competition caution at Lap 25 separating the segments. In a unique fan-friendly concept introduced last year, select fans are paired with Sprint Unlimited crew chiefs for a random draw to determine starting and pit road positions. The draw is set Friday at 3:30 p.m. in the Sprint FANZONE at DIS.