After all the preliminary events for the Cup Series, the Daytona 500 is almost here. There will be much to see in Sunday’s race.
Denny Hamlin seeks to become the first driver in Daytona 500 history to win the race a third consecutive time. Chase Elliott seeks to become the first reigning champion to win this race since 2000. Bubba Wallace seeks to give team owners Michael Jordan and Hamlin their first win in 23XI Racing’s first points Cup race.
Alex Bowman starts on the pole as Hendrick Motorsports looks to win the Daytona 500 for the first time since 2014 with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Ryan Blaney has finished second in the Daytona 500 in two of the last four years while continuing to seek his first win in this event.
Maybe one of those events will take place Sunday. Or something else will happen in the season-opening race.
Details for Sunday’s Daytona 500
START: Trackhouse Racing co-owner Pitbull will give the command to start engines 2:53 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:05 p.m.
PRERACE: Garage opens at 10:30 a.m. Luke Combs concert begins at 1:30 p.m. Driver introductions are at 2:05 p.m. The invocation will be given at 2:46 p.m. The national anthem will be performed at 2:47 p.m. followed by the United States Air Force Thunderbirds fly by.
DISTANCE: The race is 200 laps (500 miles) around the 2.5-mile speedway.
STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 65. Stage 2 ends on Lap 130.
TV/RADIO: Fox will broadcast the race at 2:30 p.m. Its coverage begins at 1 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s broadcast begins at 1:30 p.m. and also can be heard on mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.
FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for a high of 74 degrees with a 59% chance of scattered thunderstorms at the start of the race.
LAST YEAR: Denny Hamlin scored his second consecutive Daytona 500 win (and third overall) last February. Ryan Blaney finished second. Chris Buescher placed third. In August, William Byron won and was followed by Chase Elliott and Hamlin.
TO THE REAR: Cole Custer (backup car), William Byron (backup car), Ross Chastain (backup car), Brad Keselowski (backup car), Chase Briscoe (backup car), Kaz Grala (backup car), Anthony Alfredo (backup car), Martin Truex Jr. (radiator/oil cooler change) and Erik Jones (engine change). NOTE: Per the rule book (single engine rule), Jones also will start at the rear of next weekend’s race at the Daytona road course.