The 40-car starting field for Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500 will be set following tonight’s two Cup qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway.
The finishing orders of both races will determine what positions drivers will start in the 500. Pole sitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and front row counterpart Alex Bowman are both locked in to the 500 based upon last Sunday’s pole qualifying runs.
Two other drivers, Brendan Gaughan and Justin Haley are also locked in for being fastest in Sunday’s qualifying of the seven teams entered for the 500 without NASCAR charters. However, Gaughan and Haley still have to compete tonight to determine their 500 starting positions.
There are 43 teams entered for the 500, but three will go home after tonight.
Here is the information for tonight’s races:
(All times are Eastern)
START: Duel No. 1 — The command to start engines will be given at 7:08 p.m. by Jorge de la Osa, Executive VP, Bluegreen Vacations. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 7:20 p.m. Duel No. 2 — The command to start engines will be given by Dan LaJoie, grandfather of NASCAR Cup driver Corey LaJoie, approximately 12 minutes after the conclusion of Duel No. 1. The green flag is scheduled to wave at approximately 24 minutes after the conclusion of Duel No. 1.
PRERACE: The Cup garage opens at 3 p.m. The driver/crew chief meeting will be at 5:15 p.m. Driver introductions for both Duels are at 6:35 p.m. The invocation will be given at 7:01 p.m. by Pastor Sonny Gallman of the Central Baptist Church. The National Anthem will be performed at 7:02 p.m. by Melissa TenBroeck.
DISTANCE: Each race is 60 laps (150 miles) around the 2.5-mile oval.
TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the races at 7 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s broadcast will begin at 6 p.m. and also can be heard on mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.
FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for partly cloudy skies with a high of 77 degrees and a 2% chance of rain when the green flag drops for Duel No. 1.