Miami Herald

A viewer’s guide to Daytona 500 to kick off the NASCAR season


Unlike any other race in motorsport­s, the qualifying procedure that sets the Daytona 500 starting lineup — the opening race of this NASCAR season — will be finished before the weekend.

So, you won’t have to wait until the green flag waves for the 66th running of the “Great American Race” at 2:30 p.m. Sunday to see the NASCAR Cup Series in action.

Tuesday afternoon, a random draw was held to determine the order in which cars will roll off pit road for Wednesday’s Cup Series qualifying session. The final 20 spots, however, were held for the Top 20 in owners points from last season.

During the qualifying session, at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday on FS1, each entrant will run one timed lap around Daytona’s 2.5-mile tri-oval superspeed­way. The fastest two qualifiers will be locked into the top two starting positions for Sunday’s race.

Starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, the Bluegreen Vacation Duels will set the third to 40th positions. There will be a pair of 60-lap, 150-mile races with lineups set from Wednesday night’s qualifying session.

The drivers in Duel 1, in order of their finishes, will set the inside rows, while the finishers of Duel 2 will make up the outside rows.

Trying to end a losing

● streak: Kyle Larson is one of six drivers who will try to end double-digit skids in the Daytona 500, the AP noted.

He is 0-for-10 in the race, as is A.J. Allmending­er. The other drivers

with double-digit losses in the race are Martin Truex Jr. (19 starts), Kyle Busch (18), David Ragan (16) and Brad Keselowski (14).

“I do believe that we are much, much better than what we show on paper,” said Larson, who never has won at Daytona and doesn’t even have a topfive finish.

“I feel like 90 percent of the time we’re in the top six to eight at the end of the race, the final 10 laps, then we get caught up in a crash and end up finishing 28th or worse.”

Larson, 31, has finished 18th or worse in half of his Daytona 500 starts.

Excitement for rookies: ● “Everybody talks about how overwhelmi­ng and how big the Daytona 500 is — and I’ve been there as a fan — but I’ve looked forward to this day for so many years,” Carson Hocevar, one of three Cup Series rookies alongside Josh Berry and Zane Smith, said on a video call with reporters.

“When I was there as a fan, I was like, man, I want to do all these appearance­s. I want to be that guy for this team, and have all these partners. And do all these media availabili­ties. I’m just looking forward to getting there, doing the duels, doing qualifying.”


8:15 p.m.: Cup Series ● qualifying for Sunday’s Daytona 500 (FS1)


4:05 p.m.: ARCA

Menards Series practice.

5:05 p.m.: Craftsman

Truck Series practice (FS1)

7 p.m.: Cup Series

Bluegreen Vacations Duel 1 (FS1)

8:45 p.m. (approx.):

Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations Duel 2 (FS1)


1:30 p.m.: ARCA

Menards Series qualifying

3 p.m.: Craftsman

Truck Series qualifying (FS1)

4:35 p.m.: Xfinity

Series practice (FS1)

5:35 p.m.: Cup Series

practice (FS1)

7:30 p.m.: Craftsman

Truck Series race: Fresh from Florida 250 (FS1)


10:30 a.m.: Cup Series

● final practice (FS1)

11:30 a.m.: Xfinity

Series qualfiying (FS1)

1:30 p.m.: ARCA

Menards Series race: Daytona ARCA 200 (FS1)

5 p.m.: Xfinity Series

race: United Rentals 300 (FS1)


2:30 p.m.: Cup Series ● race: Daytona 500 (Fox)

 ?? JOHN DAVID MERCER USA TODAY NETWORK ?? Ricky Stenhouse Jr., restarting the pack, above, won his first Daytona 500 last February.
JOHN DAVID MERCER USA TODAY NETWORK Ricky Stenhouse Jr., restarting the pack, above, won his first Daytona 500 last February.

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