NASCAR Cup Series
By Staff Report
4 Minute Read
The Daytona 500 will kick off the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season and feature a mix of new teams like Michael Jordan’s 23XI Racing along with more established units such as Hendrick Motorsports, home to defending series champion Chase Elliott.
This year’s Daytona 500, the 63rd running of The Great American Race, is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 14, with a start time of 2:30 p.m. ET. TV coverage will be on FOX, with live streaming on FOX Sports Go and the radio call on MRN.
The Daytona 500 culminates Speedweeks, a full schedule of practice, qualifying and racing that includes action from all three NASCAR national series, as well as the ARCA Menards Series. Below is all you need to know for watching the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s crown jewel race:
The FOX broadcast will feature a new voice in the booth as former Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer joins NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon and veteran play-by-play announcer Mike Joy. FOX is returning to a three-person booth after one year with a two-man setup following the retirement of Darrell Waltrip.
Bowyer and Gordon developed a rapport during broadcasts of the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series last season when NASCAR paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. FOX is looking to bring that banter over to NASCAR broadcasts as anticipation builds for the unpredictable Bowyer’s booth debut.
Larry McReynolds, America’s favorite crew chief, will continue to provide analysis for the FOX Sports booth from the network’s Charlotte studios.
The Daytona 500 culminates Daytona Speedweeks presented by Advent Health, six days of NASCAR action that starts on Tuesday, Feb. 9 with the Busch Clash at Daytona. The 43rd annual exhibition race will run on the 14-turn, 3.61-mile Daytona Road Course for the first time, and it will start under the lights at 7 p.m. ET on FS1. NASCAR drivers can qualify for the Busch Clash in a number of different ways.
Practices and qualifying sessions will return at Daytona. Last season, practices were canceled and lineups were set first by draw and then by a mathematical formula during the COVID-19 pandemic. This season, there will be practice and qualifying at select events, including the Daytona 500, as NASCAR continues to work with state, local and federal officials to ensure the safety of its competitors and spectators.
Here’s a look at the full Cup Series schedule of events for Speedweeks:
Setting the lineup is different for the Daytona 500 than any other NASCAR national series event. Busch Pole Qualifying, set for 7 p.m. ET Wednesday, Feb. 10, on FS1, will determine the front row for the main event. The two fastest times from single-car qualifying will line up on Row 1 on Sunday for the Daytona 500.
The rest of the lineup will mostly be determined by results of Thursday’s Bluegreen Vacations Duels, starting at 7 p.m. ET on FS1. The winner of Duel 1 will line up in Row 2 behind the polesitter, with subsequent finishers in Duel 1 filling the odd-numbered slots throughout the 40-car field.
Meanwhile, the winner of Duel 2 will line up in Row 2 behind the second-fastest car in qualifying, with subsequent Duel 2 finishers filling out the rest of the even-numbered slots. The top Open (non-chartered) cars in Duel 1 and Duel 2 will fill the next slots, with any remaining open spots being filled by the best qualifiers.
All of this will lead to a full lineup for Sunday’s Daytona 500 at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX.
This Daytona 500 entry list is unofficial and subject to change:
* = Will likely need to race way into Daytona 500