Each year, the NASCAR Cup Series kicks off the season with its pinnacle event — the Daytona 500.
The 65th annual running is set for Sunday, Feb. 19 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Daytona International Speedway. And, like any big event, some unique quirks are part of the build-up.
The “Great American Race’s” most notable difference compared to any other on the Cup schedule is how the starting lineup is set. Forty cars will make the Daytona 500 starting grid. Thirty-six teams are guaranteed starting spots thanks to their Charters, leaving only four spots available for Open teams.
The process began with single-car qualifying on Wednesday, where the two fastest drivers secured the front-row starting positions for Sunday’s race (Hendrick Motorsports’ teammates Alex Bowman and Kyle Larson) and the fastest overall earned the Busch Light Pole (Bowman). Additionally, the two fastest Open cars clinched a spot in Sunday’s main event – those honors went to seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson and Travis Pastrana.
The remaining results from qualifying set the field for the two Bluegreen Vacations Duel races on Thursday. The duel races were 60-lap affairs, the results of which set the lineup for the Daytona 500.
Drivers who were in odd-numbered positions on the speed chart from single-car qualifying made up the starting grid of Duel No. 1, while those who qualified in even-numbered positions made up Duel No. 2. The highest-finishing Open car in each duel advanced into the Daytona 500.
The results of Duel No. 1 set the inside row for the 2023 Daytona 500, while the results of Duel No. 2 set the outside row for Sunday’s race.
Bluegreen Vacations Duel No. 1 results
* denotes Open, non-Charter team
|Finishing Position||Car No.||Driver|
|16||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.|
Bluegreen Vacations Duel No. 2 results
* denotes Open, non-Charter team
|Starting position||Car No.||Driver|
|8||19||Martin Truex Jr.|
Projected Daytona 500 starting lineup
|Position||Car No.||Driver||How Spot is Determined|
|1||48||Alex Bowman||Fastest in qualifying|
|2||5||Kyle Larson||Second fastest in qualifying|
|3||22||Joey Logano||Duel No. 1 winner|
|4||10||Aric Almirola||Duel No. 2 winner|
|5||20||Christopher Bell||Duel No. 1 second place|
|6||2||Austin Cindric||Duel No. 2 second place|
|7||12||Ryan Blaney||Duel No. 1 third place|
|8||9||Chase Elliott||Duel No. 2 third place|
|9||17||Chris Buescher||Duel No. 1 fourth place|
|10||6||Brad Keselowski||Duel No. 2 fourth place|
|11||34||Michael McDowell||Duel No. 1 fifth place|
|12||7||Corey LaJoie||Duel No. 2 fifth place|
|13||4||Kevin Harvick||Duel No. 1 sixth place|
|14||38||Todd Gilliland||Duel No. 2 sixth place|
|15||23||Bubba Wallace||Duel No. 1 seventh place|
|16||19||Martin Truex Jr.||Duel No. 2 seventh place|
|17||36*||Zane Smith*||Highest finishing Open car in Duel No. 1; Duel No. 1 eighth place|
|18||11||Denny Hamlin||Duel No. 2 eighth place|
|19||21||Harrison Burton||Duel No. 1 ninth place|
|20||41||Ryan Preece||Duel No. 2 ninth place|
|21||24||William Byron||Duel No. 1 10th place|
|22||42||Noah Gragson||Duel. No. 2 10th place|
|23||1||Ross Chastain||Duel No. 1 11th place|
|24||99||Daniel Suárez||Duel No. 2 11th place|
|25||43||Erik Jones||Duel No. 1 12th place|
|26||45||Tyler Reddick||Duel No. 2 12th place|
|27||3||Austin Dillon||Duel No. 1 13th place|
|28||31||Justin Haley||Duel No. 2 13th place|
|29||84*||Jimmie Johnson*||Fastest Open car in qualifying; Duel No. 1 14th place|
|30||14||Chase Briscoe||Duel No. 2 14th place|
|31||16||AJ Allmendinger||Duel No. 1 15th place|
|32||78||BJ McLeod||Duel No. 2 15th place|
|33||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Duel No. 1 16th place|
|34||50*||Conor Daly*||Highest-finishing Open Car in Duel No. 2; Duel No. 2 16th place|
|35||54||Ty Gibbs||Duel No. 1 17th place|
|36||8||Kyle Busch||Duel No. 2 17th place|
|37||51||Cody Ware||Duel No. 1 18th place|
|38||15||Riley Herbst||Duel No. 2 18th place|
|39||77||Ty Dillon||Duel No. 1 19th place|
|40||67*||Travis Pastrana*||Second-fastest Open car in qualifying|