Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

The 99 day “off season” is now officially over!  In about 12 hours the track at Daytona will open up their pit gate and the NASCAR haulers will be rolling into the garage area and unloading their treasure trove of race cars.  For those who are no longer on the work rolls, ie, retired or self-employed FOX Sports 1 begins its coverage of Speedweeks tomorrow (Friday) afternoon wit practice for the Advanced Auto Parts Clash!  So you may want to clear off your crowded schedule and buckle in!

In case you may have forgotten the format for the Daytona 500 and how you make the field, I have incorporated a a review of just how you make your way into the the starting 40 car field for NASCAR’s biggest race of the year!

The Daytona 500 is a unique event in many ways, including how the 40-car field is set for this year’s race (Sunday, Feb. 26, 2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

There are two days that carry the most significance in how the field is set. The first is Sunday, Feb. 19 when two rounds of single-car qualifying will take place starting at 3:10 p.m. ET (FOX). The second is Thursday, Feb. 23 when the Can-Am Duel races take place, starting at 7 p.m. ET (FS1).

Here are more details:


Programming info for single-car qualifying

When: Sunday, Feb. 19
Where: Daytona International Speedway
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

What is the format?
This event will determine the front row (spots 1 and 2) for the Daytona 500. There will be two rounds of single-car qualifying, with the 12 fastest cars in Round 1 advancing to Round 2. There will be a 10-minute break between rounds, and cars will make their Round 2 run based on Round 1 times (slowest going first, fastest last).

The fastest time in Round 2 will be the Coors Light Pole Award winner for the Daytona 500. The second-fastest time in Round 2 will earn the other spot on the front row for theDaytona 500. The pole winner will start first in the first Can-Am Duel race on Thursday. The other front-row driver will start first in the second Can-Am Duel race.

The rest of the field will line up for Thursday’s Can-Am Duels based on qualifying time, with odd-numbered finishers lining up in the first Duel, and even-numbered finishers lining up for the second Duel.


Programming info for the Can-Am Duels

When: Thursday, Feb. 23
Where: Daytona International Speedway
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

What is the format
The Can-Am Duels will determine spots 3-38 in the Daytona 500 grid. With 36 Charter teams entered in the race, two of these spots will be filled by the top Open car in each Duel race. The qualifiers from the first Duel will line up on the inside row in the Daytona 500 depending upon their finish in Duel 1. The qualifiers from the second Duel will line up on the outside row for the Daytona 500 depending upon their result in Duel 2.

The remaining two spots on the Daytona 500 grid will be awarded to the top Open teams from Sunday’s qualifying that are still left (i.e. didn’t qualify through the Duels).

In review
– Two spots (front row) determined by Sunday’s qualifying.
– Spots 3-38 determined by results of Duels races.
– Spots 39, 40 go to the top Open cars remaining.
– That’s a total of 40 cars for Sunday’s race (36 Charter cars, 4 Open cars).

It is time to go racing!  Let’s have a “record year”!


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