Chris Graythen | Getty Images
Chris Graythen | Getty Images

How Daytona 500 qualifying works; Bluegreen Vacations Duels procedure

Setting the Daytona 500 lineup is different than any other NASCAR Cup Series event. The process begins with single-car qualifying on Wednesday night and continues in the Bluegreen Vacations Duels on Thursday night.

What time is Daytona 500 single-car qualifying?

Each team on the Daytona 500 entry list will get a chance to put down a timed lap in single-car qualifying on Wednesday night at Daytona International Speedway. Qualifying is expected to get underway at 7:30 p.m. ET with television coverage on FS1 and radio coverage on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

The fastest two cars in single-car qualifying at the 2.5-mile superspeedway will make up the front row for Sunday’s Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The rest of the Daytona 500 starting lineup is determined by the Duel races.

Chevrolet has won the last eight Daytona 500 poles, dating back to Danica Patrick in 2013. The most recent pole winner was Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

A unique aspect of this year’s qualifying is that it is being held at night.

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How do the duels help set the Daytona 500 lineup?

Single-car qualifying on Wednesday will set the front row for the Daytona 500. The duels will determine the majority of the rest of the lineup. For the start of the Daytona 500, the finishers from Duel 1 will line up on the inside row in order of their Duel finish. Meanwhile, the finishers from Duel 2 will line up up on the outside row in order of their Duel finish.

What is the duels format?

There are two separate duels races on Thursday night, each 60 laps or 150 miles in length. The lineup for the duels is set by Wednesday’s single-car qualifying. The odd-numbered finishers in single-car qualifying will line up in Duel 1, while the even-numbered finishers will line up in Duel 2 — although NASCAR will ensure there are an equal number of Open, or non-Charter teams, in each Duel race.

Duel 1 is expected to get underway at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday with television coverage on FS1 and radio coverage on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Duel 2 will begin roughly 20 minutes after the conclusion of Duel 1.

Can open teams qualify for the Daytona 500?

There are 36 teams with charters that are guaranteed to race in the Daytona 500. Open teams will fill the remaining four spots in the 40-car field. There are expected to be at least 44 cars on the entry list, so there could be at least eight teams vying for the final four spots.

The fastest open team in each duel race will gain entrance into the Daytona 500 field. The two open teams with the fastest times from single-car qualifying that didn’t qualify through the duels will fill the last two spots in the 40-car field.

Are points awarded in the duels?

Yes, the top-10 finishers in each of the duels will earn points. The first-place driver in each duel will get 10 points, the second-place driver nine points and so on down to the 10th-place driver, who will earn one point. However, no playoff points will be awarded in the duels.

What happens if there is a rainout?

If both duels are canceled because of weather conditions, then NASCAR officials will determine the four open teams by qualifying results.

If only the second duel is canceled, then the highest-finishing open team from the first duel and the three remaining fastest open teams from qualifying will advance.

In the event of a complete cancellation where the event can’t be the rescheduled, the lineup will be set by the NASCAR Rule Book.