The NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at the Daytona Road Course begins Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Ahead of this weekend’s road racing, take a look at some important highlights and information you need to know.
The exciting pre-race coverage starts this Sunday at 11 a.m. ET with an all-new NASCAR Race Hub: Best of Radioactive on FS1 — featuring behind-the-scenes highlights from previous road course races. Setting the stage for the showdown, NASCAR RaceDay airs on FS1 at 1:30 p.m. ET and switches over to FOX at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Driver introductions begin at 2:45 p.m. ET followed by the national anthem and Netflix’s ‘The Crew’ star Kevin James giving the command to start engines at 3:08 p.m. ET.
The green flag for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 is scheduled to wave at 3:20 p.m. ET. Stage 1 is set to end at Lap 16, Stage 2 at Lap 34 and the checkered flag waved at the conclusion of Lap 70.
RELATED: Daytona Road Course weekend schedule
It’s no surprise seeing reigning Cup Series champion Chase Elliott opening as favorite to win at the first road course race of the season, closing in on the weekend with 2-1 odds.
Martin Truex Jr. trails just behind at 4-1, followed by Denny Hamlin at 10-1 and Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch each breaking in at 12-1 to round out the top six.
Where does your favorite driver land? Check out the full list of BetMGM odds.
COVID-19 restrictions remain in place for this weekend, therefore limited seating options will be available to fans who wish to attend. Tickets for seating on the frontstretch can be purchased at the Daytona International Speedway event site.
WHO’S ON THE POLE THIS SUNDAY?
Elliott has won the Busch Pole Award, landing the No. 9 crew at the front of the pack to start Sunday’s race where he will be joined by Daytona 500 champion Michael McDowell. Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick all start inside the top-five starting positions in Sunday’s 40-car field.
DAYTONA ROAD COURSE 2020 — INAUGURAL RACE
Elliott dominated the inaugural Cup Series race on the Daytona Road Course, leading a race-high 34 laps and fending off a hard-charging Hamlin after a late restart in the final stage. The No. 9 wheelman has starred at road courses throughout his career and has won at each of the last four road circuits dating back to the Charlotte Roval in September 2019.
This weekend’s race will feature a reduced-downforce aero package combined with a 750-horsepower engine and 2.75-inch rear spoiler (down from the 8-inch height used at tracks over one mile). This change came into effect during the 2020 season and is scheduled to be used at all road courses and short tracks.
Each Cup team will receive seven sets of Goodyear Eagle Road Course Radials for the race. For race setup, the minimum recommended tire inflation is 28 psi for the left front, 30 psi for right front and 22 psi for each rear tire. In case of inclement weather, Goodyear will bring the Wet Weather Radials — last used at the Charlotte Roval in October 2020 — should NASCAR decide that the conditions warrant the change.
STATS AND STREAKS
— The Daytona Road Course is the first of seven road courses on the Cup Series schedule, the most ever in a single season.
— Jeff Gordon holds the longest streak of road course wins with six, spanning from August 1997 to June 2000. He also holds the all-time total wins record with nine.
— Either Martin Truex Jr. or Chase Elliott has visited Victory Lane at eight of the last nine road courses. Truex picked up his most recent road course win in 2019 at Sonoma Raceway.
— Four active drivers finished in the top 10 in both road course races in 2020: Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano and William Byron.
Stats provided by Racing Insights
2021 fantasy points leaders: Denny Hamlin (52), Austin Dillon (48), Michael McDowell (44).
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.