The 2021 Daytona 500 is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Here is everything you need to know for watching the 63rd annual running of The Great American Race.
Pre-race coverage for the Daytona 500 will begin at 11 a.m. ET with NASCAR RaceDay on FS1. NASCAR RaceDay will move over to FOX at 1 p.m. ET, leading up to the race at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX, FOX Deportes, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and in Canada on TSN 1 and TSN 4.
Driver introductions for the Daytona 500 are set for 2:05 p.m. ET. Grand marshal Pitbull will give the command for drivers to start their engines at 2:53 p.m. ET. Then, the green flag for the Daytona 500 is expected to wave at 3:05 p.m. ET.
The race is scheduled for 200 laps. Stage 1 is set to end at Lap 65, Stage 2 at Lap 130 and the checkered flag at the conclusion of Lap 200. Speedweeks schedule
Denny Hamlin, winner of the last two Daytona 500s and three overall, opened as the favorite to win this year’s race at 8-1, according to BetMGM.
Three drivers — defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney — are the next-best drivers at 10-1.
No driver has won three consecutive Daytona 500s. Besides Hamlin the only other drivers to get back-to-back wins are Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough and Sterling Marlin. See photos of all the back-to-back winners of the Daytona 500.
Tickets are sold out for the Daytona 500. There will be a limited crowd because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, Daytona International Speedway is doing all it can to engage with fans who have to miss this year’s race in-person.
Race fans can virtually fill the 500 thanks to the Daytona 500 Fancam. Find out how you can add your personal cutout to the crowd.
WHO’S ON THE POLE FOR THE DAYTONA 500?
Alex Bowman won the Busch Pole Award in the No. 48 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. Teammate William Byron, in the No. 24 Chevrolet, will join him on the front row for the Daytona 500.
This is the second time Bowman has won the Daytona 500 pole, the other time coming in 2018. Bowman is the ninth straight Chevrolet driver to win the Daytona 500 pole, dating back to Danica Patrick in 2013. See all the Daytona 500 pole winners.
HOW DAYTONA 500 QUALIFYING WORKS
Wednesday’s pole qualifying set the front row for the Daytona 500. The results of Thursday night’s Bluegreen Vacations Duels at Daytona set most of the rest of the Daytona 500 lineup. Thirty-six teams with NASCAR Charters were guaranteed a spot in the 40-car field, with the four remaining spots going to Open teams. There were eight Open teams competing for those four spots. Ryan Preece and David Ragan guaranteed their Open teams a spot during Wednesday’s qualifying, and Austin Cindric and Kaz Grala raced their way in on Thursday. How qualifying works for Daytona 500.
DAYTONA 500 WINNERS IN THE FIELD
Denny Hamlin (3), Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray, Joey Logano.
NASCAR’s superspeedway rules package will be in effect for the Daytona 500. NASCAR made some changes to the package last year, including the elimination of aero ducts. There was also a reduction in the size of the throttle body and the addition of two roll bars.
Each team gets seven sets of Goodyear Eagle Superspeedway Radials for practice, qualifying and the Duels and then eight sets for the race (seven race sets plus one set transferred from qualifying). The minimum recommended inflation is 26 psi for left front and left rear, 50 psi for right front and 48 psi for right rear. The thread compounds Cup teams will use this week have remained unchanged since 2017, with tire constructions being updated to a more traditional speedway setup in 2019.
STATS TO KNOW
NASCAR is again partnering with Racing Insights, and it dropped this knowledge on us for the Daytona 500:
— Only eight races will have practice and qualifying in 2021: the Daytona 500, Bristol Motor Speedway dirt, Circuit of the America, Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Coca-Cola 600, Nashville Superspeedway, Road America, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course and Phoenix Raceway.
— It’s the 25-year anniversary of Jeff Gordon getting his first of three Daytona 500 wins in a Hendrick Motorsports 1-2-3 finish in 1997.
— Martin Truex Jr. (2016), Ryan Blaney (2017, 2020), Bubba Wallace (2018) and Kyle Busch (2019) have all finished runner-up in the Daytona 500 but have yet to win.
— Tony Stewart has the most laps led in the Daytona 500 (299) without a win. Kyle Busch is second to Stewart with 296 laps led without a win.
NASCAR Fantasy Live is back this year and gives race fans an extra reason to tune in Sunday. Players will again get the chance to insert their garage (backup) driver in case one of the five drivers in their original starting lineup is having a bad day.
There will be a limit of 10 uses for each driver, so you can’t just set and forget with Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin every week. But there will be some new twists to this year’s game, particularly with bonus points where players can pick the top driver from each manufacturer – and more. Read the Fantasy Live FAQ to find out more.
ALSO ON NASCAR.COM
Get additional camera views by logging on to NASCAR Drive, where each week a select number of in-car cameras will be available – as well as a battle cam and an overhead look.
New for this season, NASCAR has partnered with LiveLike to add fan engagement in the NASCAR Mobile App. Log in to the mobile app during the race for polls, quizzes, the cheer meter and more – and see instant results from NASCAR fans like you.