What to Watch: 2023 Daytona 500

What to Watch: 2023 Daytona 500

Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway
(⏰ 2:30 p.m. ET | 📺 FOX, FOX Sports App | 📻 MRN, SiriusXM)

Everything you need to know for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona, the 65th running of the “Great American Race.”

Weekend schedule | TV schedule | Weather tracker | Daytona 101

Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Race purse: $26,934,357
Grand marshals: NASCAR legends set to give command
Race distance: 200 laps | 500 miles
Stages: 65 | 130 | 200
Starting lineup: Polesitter and more for Sunday
Pit stall assignments: Where drivers will pit on Sunday
How the order was set: Info from qualifying, Duel races

Key things to watch 🔑

Top story line

Winning the Daytona 500 is special, no matter the case. But Sunday’s star-studded field, including seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and motorsports superstar Travis Pastrana, has this race tabbed to be one of the all-time greats. If you’re a points-paying regular, winning the opening race of the season sets the tone for a potential championship run and has you less worried about even making the playoffs; for open entrants and other part-time racers, winning this race will certainly be the highlight of their entire year. Capturing the Harley J. Earl Trophy changes how you are seen, a forever champion in the sport’s most iconic race. Being the 65th “Great American Race” winner in the sport’s 75th anniversary season is just that much sweeter.

RELATED: See how drivers fared in the final practice

History tells us…

Even though Chevrolet has the pole-winning speed, it is Ford and Toyota that usually rise to the occasion in the Daytona 500. In the last eight Daytona 500 races, Ford (four) and Toyota (three) have combined to win seven times, while Austin Dillon collected the only win for the bowties in 2018. Denny Hamlin is the only repeat winner in the last 11 races, winning the Harley J. Earl Trophy an incredible three times. Though Chevrolet has flashed the dominant speed, they have rarely put together a complete race in recent memory and will certainly be looking to buck this trend Sunday with Alex Bowman and Kyle Larson starting on the front row. (Stats courtesy of Racing Insights)

Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney are the betting co-favorites to win, but watch out for…

Austin Cindric. In his limited Cup Series experience, making his full-season debut in 2022, Team Penske’s rising star has been incredibly consistent in some of the most difficult situations stock car racing has to offer. Since finishing 15th in his first Daytona 500 (2021), Cindric hasn’t finished outside of the top three at Daytona, dating back to his Daytona 500 win and including Thursday night’s Bluegreen Vacations Duel 2 where he finished runner-up. Some may call it lucky, but the No. 2 wheelman seems to have something figured out and is driving for a Team Penske organization that always shows up for superspeedway races. If Cindric can park his Mustang in Victory Lane again Sunday, he will enter the rare air of back-to-back Daytona 500 winners and one of few who have won the crown jewel more than once.

Familiar favorites ⭐️

Our biggest pieces of the week — get covered for race day from all angles.

• Paint Scheme Preview: Dashing colors and schemes for Daytona | Pick a favorite
• Power Rankings: Austin Dillon off to quick start in RCR’s new era | Last week’s driver rankings
• Betting odds: See the favorites, long shots for Sunday’s race | Top bets, underdog picks
• Fantasy Fastlane: After Duel win, is Joey Logano a lock for your lineup? | Fantasy tips, sleepers
• At-track photos: Capturing the best scenes from Daytona Speedweeks | Scroll through them
• Stacking Pennies:
Kyle Larson talks Indy 500 ambitions, Cup season and more | Listen to the podcast
• On the Move:
Changes to know before the 2023 season | Catch up on the details

💎 NASCAR 75: Check out exclusive NASCAR content throughout the anniversary season | Learn more, explore

Hot off the press 📰

Key stories and breaking news from the week leading up to the race.

• Bigger restart zone: New change for 2023 could increase gamesmanship | Read more
• NASCAR Exclusive: How will the choose rule affect the Daytona 500? | Watch the breakdown
• NASCAR 75: 75 greatest drivers to be named as part of anniversary celebration | Read more
• Kevin Harvick: ‘If we have scores to settle, we will settle them immediately’ | Read more
• Garage 56: Race livery for Le Mans unveiled at Daytona | Read more
• Elton Sawyer:
Feature story on one of the leaders at R&D | Read more
• Ross Chastain:
Trackhouse Racing, Chastain reach new contract | Read more
• More contract extensions: Alex Bowman, Ally | Daniel Suárez, Trackhouse
• New faces, new places:
Kyle Busch, Tyler Reddick among changes | Read more
• Official Partner:
Powerball becomes Official Partner of NASCAR | Read more

Get in on the action 💰

Think you know NASCAR? Put your mettle to the test with gaming, fantasy and Fan Rewards.

• Fan Rewards: New in 2023, get rewarded for your participation! | Learn more
• Betting insight: Las Vegas sportsbook takes sharp action on Denny Hamlin | Read full analysis
• Fantasy Live: A new season of NASCAR Fantasy Live will begin with the Daytona 500 | Tips for 2023
• NASCAR BetCenter: Don’t miss your chance to make picks each week | Visit the BetCenter
• Going all the way:
2023 Cup Series championship odds | See them here

Dreaming of Daytona 💫

Relevant history, recent race winners and more from NASCAR’s most iconic track.

• Starting P1: Every pole winner in Daytona 500 history | See them all here
• Photo, please: Closest finishes in Daytona 500 history | How many can you remember?
• Back to the beach: Photos from the earliest racing days in Daytona | A lot of history here
• Winner, winner: Complete Daytona 500 winner history | Every winner, ever
• Best of the rest: Best drivers to never win the Daytona 500 | See our full list
• Memory lane:
Key moments in the ‘Great American Race’ | Learn which moments stood out


The story behind Dale Sr.‘s Daytona 500 burnout
Twenty-five years later, Dale Earnhardt’s Daytona 500 victory still stands the test of time
Mark Martin witnessed the most awesome thing as young fan at 1976 Daytona 500
Present and future collide at historic 1976 Daytona 500

Take some notes 📝

Five hard-hitting, race-relevant statistics, brought to you by the experts at Racing Insights.

Alex Bowman has three Daytona 500 poles in seven starts, making him one of seven three-time pole winners in this race.
The last time a defending Cup Series champion won the Daytona 500 was Dale Jarrett in 2000.
Ford and Toyota have combined to win seven of the last eight Daytona 500s.
Kyle Busch leads all drivers in laps led among drivers that are winless in the Daytona 500 with 324.
Chase Elliott and Michael McDowell finished top-10 in the last two Daytona 500s, the longest active streak.

Predicting the winner: Using data to set a projected finishing order

Quote of the week 🎙

A notable quote from one star of the sport heading into Sunday’s race.

• “My first race in the Next Gen car is done, and we finished 14th in the Duel. Wish that we finished a little bit better, but we got a ton of great reps for the No. 84 Carvana Chevy team. I have new over-the-wall guys, a new spotter, new crew chief, a new team – to have this behind us is really good, and I think it was a really successful day. I wish that our strategy was a bit better for the cars we were running with, but we have 500 miles on Sunday to figure that out.” — Jimmie Johnson, driver and co-owner of the No. 84 Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet