The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season is drawing near, with teams gearing up for the exhilarating Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway. This highly anticipated race will see 40 drivers vying to conquer the 2.5-mile superspeedway and secure a coveted spot in the Cup playoffs.
Time and Date
Set to take place on Sunday, February 18th, at 2:30 p.m. ET, the Daytona 500 will be broadcasted by Fox, featuring Mike Joy, Clint Bowyer, and Kevin Harvick in the announcer’s booth.
While the field will primarily consist of the 36 chartered entries with guaranteed spots, there will also be a number of non-chartered entries competing for inclusion in the 40-car lineup. Notable entries include David Ragan driving the No. 60 Ford Mustang for RFK Racing, Anthony Alfredo steering the No. 62 Chevrolet Camaro for Beard Motorsports, Jimmie Johnson taking the helm of the No. 84 Toyota Camry for Legacy Motor Club, and BJ McLeod at the wheel of the No. 78 Chevrolet Camaro for Live Fast Motorsports.
The Daytona 500 boasts a unique qualifying format, encompassing multiple days of on-track action to determine the starting lineup. It kicks off with single-car qualifying on Wednesday, February 14th, followed by the Bluegreen Vacation Duel races on Thursday, February 15th. These 60-lap races will determine the remaining starting positions, with non-chartered cars from each race earning a spot in the Daytona 500 based on their qualifying speed.
The race weekend will also feature the Craftsman Truck Series, commencing on Friday, February 16th, along with the ARCA Menards Series and Xfinity Series races on Saturday, February 17th.
Adding to the spectacle, the United States Air Force Thunderbirds will grace the event with a flyover, marking their 15th appearance to the delight of the sold-out crowd. Additionally, NASCAR
is yet to unveil the grand marshal, honorary starter, and pace car driver, further heightening the anticipation surrounding the race.
The lineup for the Daytona 500 will include several notable past winners, with some securing their spots through charters and others having to race their way into the field. Among the accomplished past winners returning for this season’s race are Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Michael McDowell, Austin Cindric, Denny Hamlin, and Jimmie Johnson. Notably, Johnson will need to qualify on speed or through the Duel races as he does not possess a guaranteed spot in the lineup.
In conclusion, the 2024 Daytona 500 promises an enthralling start to the NASCAR Cup Series season, with a compelling mix of seasoned veterans, exciting newcomers, and a diverse range of entries all set to compete at the iconic Daytona International Speedway. The qualifying process, support series, dignitaries, and the prestige of past winners all contribute to the anticipation and excitement surrounding this crown jewel race. NASCAR enthusiasts and fans alike can look forward to an electrifying event that epitomizes the spirit and intensity of stock car racing at its finest.