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Monday, January 7, 2013
Kickoff event has new sponsor, name

By David Newton
ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NASCAR's 2013 kickoff event will have a new sponsor and name, but it won't have the new Sprint Cup champion and runner-up.

Sprint announced on Monday it has partnered with Daytona International Speedway to sponsor The Sprint Unlimited at Daytona, a non-points event formerly known as the Budweiser Shootout.

The event that kicks off on Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. ET will be without Cup champion Brad Keselowski and runner-up Clint Bowyer, who did not qualify for the select field of 22 that includes pole winners from 2012 and past winners of the event.

It will be the first time since Matt Kenseth's absence in 2004 that the reigning champion did not qualify for the race.

Keselowski's former Penske Racing teammate AJ Allmendinger, who was suspended last season for violating NASCAR's substance abuse policy, is eligible for winning the pole at Kansas.

The event will mark the debut of NASCAR's new "Gen 6'' car.