DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A seven-time Cup champion is back. A two-time champion has changed teams. And a former champion makes his last Daytona 500 start Sunday.
NASCAR’s 75th anniversary season begins in splendor.
Nine former and current drivers, who have won at least one Daytona 500 and a Cup championship, will give the command to start the Daytona 500. Among those will be Jimmie Johnson, who returns to the series after spending the past two years in the IndyCar Series. Also among those will be Kevin Harvick, who is beginning his final Cup season.
Two-time Cup champion Kyle Busch seeks his first Daytona 500. He will do so with Richard Childress Racing after spending the past 15 seasons at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Hendrick Motorsports will look to Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, William Byron and pole-sitter Alex Bowman to score the organization’s first Daytona 500 win since Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s victory in 2014.
Denny Hamlin seeks his fourth Daytona 500 victory, which would tie him with Cale Yarborough for second on the all-time Daytona 500 wins list. Richard Petty has won this race a record seven times.
Details for Sunday’s Daytona 500
(All times Eastern)
START: Grand marshals Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Bill Elliott, Dale Jarrett, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Joey Logano will give the command to start engines at 2:58 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:14 p.m.
PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 8 a.m. … Dierks Bentley concert begins at 1:30 p.m. … Drivers meeting at 1:40 p.m. … Driver introductions are at 2:15 p.m. … Invocation given by Chaplain Farzad Nourian at 2:46 p.m. … National Anthem performed by Breland at 2:47 p.m.
DISTANCE: The race is 200 laps (500 miles) on the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 65. Stage 2 ends at Lap 130.
TV/RADIO: FOX will broadcast the race at 2:30 p.m. Pre-race coverage begins at 1 p.m. … Motor Racing Network’s radio coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. and will also stream at MRN.com; SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.
STREAMING: FOX Sports
FORECAST: Weather Underground – Partly cloudy with a high of 74 degrees, and a 15% chance of rain at the start of the race
STARTING LINEUP: Daytona 500 starting lineup
TO THE REAR: Kyle Busch (backup car).
LAST YEAR: Austin Cindric held off the field on the final lap to win his first Daytona 500 and first career series victory. Bubba Wallace placed second. Chase Briscoe finished third.
CATCH UP ON NBC SPORTS COVERAGE:
Jimmie Johnson: Fast on track, faster in air
Kurt Busch’s recovery continues
Daytona 500 has frustrated many of the most accomplished drivers
Ford, Chevrolet executives say F1 programs won’t hurt NASCAR efforts
A mother’s hug caps emotional night for Conor Daly
Daytona 500 wins is Jimmie Johnson’s focus after making field
Ross Chastain sign’s contract extension with Trackhouse Racing
Trackhouse Racing signs Daniel Suarez to contract extension
Drivers to watch in Daytona 500