Six months ago, NASCAR Cup Series teams arrived at Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona 500 with very little real-world knowledge of the new Next Gen car.
This weekend teams return to DIS with 25 regular-season races in the record books and with big notebooks about the likes and dislikes of the new car. The regular season will end with Saturday night’s 400-mile race (7 p.m. ET, NBC and Peacock) on the 2.5-mile oval.
The weekend’s major storyline centers on the playoff starting grid. With Kurt Busch‘s Thursday withdrawal from the playoffs, 14 drivers have qualified for the playoff grid with race wins. Two spots will be available at Daytona, and Martin Truex Jr. sit in those positions — via points — entering Daytona. One of them — and possibly both — will advance to the playoffs depending on whether a new winner emerges at Daytona.
The Daytona weekend also includes a Friday Xfinity race (7:30 p.m. ET, USA Network).
Here’s a look at this weekend’s schedule:
Daytona International Speedway (Cup and Xfinity)
Friday: Morning showers. Scattered thunderstorms afternoon and evening. High of 88. 60% chance of rain.
Saturday: Scattered thunderstorms afternoon and evening. High of 86. Chance of rain 50%.
Friday, August 26
(All times Eastern)
- 8 a.m. — Xfinity Series
- Noon – 7 p.m. — Cup Series
- 3:05 – 4:30 p.m. — Xfinity Series qualifying (USA Network)
- 5:05 – 6:30 p.m. — Cup Series qualifying (USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
- 7:30 p.m. — Xfinity Series race (100 laps, 250 miles; USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
Saturday, August 27
- 4 p.m. — Cup Series
- 7 p.m. — Cup Series race (160 laps, 400 miles; NBC and Peacock, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
— Due to local programming, the Cup Series race on Saturday will air on WBAL 11.2 MeTV in Baltimore, WKCF in Orlando, KTVK in Phoenix and WMOR in Tampa. Check local listings in Lancaster/Harrisburg (Pa.), Philadelphia and Washington, DC. Viewers in all markets can live stream the race on Peacock, NBCSports.com or the NBC Sports app.