When and How to watch the 2024 NASCAR Cup opener at Daytona 500

When and How to watch the 2024 NASCAR Cup opener at Daytona 500

The 76th season of NASCAR racing, which will see Ryan Blaney of Team Penske starting his championship defense, will begin with the famed Daytona 500.

The legendary Daytona International Speedway, which staged the thrilling Daytona 24 Hours less than a month ago and saw Porsche Penske Motorsport win by 2.1 seconds ahead of Cadillac in a grandstand finale on its 3.56-mile road track, will be the 500-mile route that drivers will navigate.

However, it will be time for America’s stock cars to compete on the 2.5-mile, high-banked circuit at the famous Florida venue starting the week of February 12; Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the current Daytona 500 winner.

This year’s Daytona 500 roster includes seven winners, including Stenhouse Jr., but Blaney is not one of them. He has come dangerously close to winning at the famed speedway in 2022, even getting knocked down by Penske teammate Austin Cindric. Will the newly crowned Cup champion finally pull off the victory?

When is the Daytona 500?

  • Date: Sunday, February 18,
  • Time: 2:30pm ET

The Daytona 500, the first round of the 2024 NASCAR Cup season, will take place on Sunday, February 18, at 2:30 p.m. local time.

However, qualifying takes place on Wednesday before the Daytona 500, and on Thursday, the Duel races take place, setting the grid behind the front row in preparation for the major event on Sunday.

Date Session Session start time
Wednesday 14 February Daytona 500 qualifying 8:15pm ET
Thursday 15 February Duel Race 1 7pm ET
Thursday 15 February Duel Race 2 8:45pm ET
Friday 16 February Daytona 500 Practice 1 5:35pm ET
Saturday 17 February Daytona 500 Practice 2 10:30am ET
Sunday 18 February Daytona 500 2:30pm ET

What is the process for Daytona 500 qualifying?

In motorsport, especially Formula 1, where everything takes place on the same weekend, Daytona 500 qualifying is unlike any other.

The order in which the cars will start Wednesday’s qualifying is determined by a random draw held on the Tuesday prior. The top 20 drivers from the previous year, however, receive the remaining 20 spots because running a hot lap later in the race has benefits owing to track evolution.

Daytona 500 qualifying takes place in a single-car, single-lap format. As a result, each driver will receive one perfect lap around the tri-oval, and the top two cars will start from the front row of the Daytona 500 on Sunday. The starting lineup for both Duel races—which determine the order from third to forty-first for the Daytona 500—is decided by the other qualifying times.

The 60-lap, 150-mile Duels are decided by the results of the first race, which determines the inside row for the 500, and the second race, which decides the outer row for Sunday.

But for chartered teams that participate in each round of the NASCAR Cup season, 36 spots for the “Great American Race” are guaranteed. If there are more than 40 entries (as of this writing, 41 cars have been entered), some drivers will not be able to qualify for the Daytona 500 since the remaining four seats are awarded to so-called “open teams” that compete on a part-time basis.

Without having to participate in the Duels, the top two open teams in one-lap qualifying will automatically advance to the 500. The final four grid positions for the Daytona 500 are given to the open teams, with the remaining two spots decided by both Duels.

Two practice sessions are held on Friday and Saturday to prepare for the races, but not until qualifying and the Duel races have taken place.

How can you watch the Daytona 500?

Three and a half hours before the race’s end, on FS1, pre-race coverage will start at 11 a.m. ET. FOX will carry the Daytona 500 live in America. Every session of the Daytona 500 will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1, starting on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET. The FOX Sports app will also provide access to the program.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Truck Series, which serve as the Cup Series’ supporting events at Daytona International Speedway, will also be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1. The Daytona 500 may be seen live on a console or on a mobile or tablet device thanks to its availability on FuboTV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, and Hulu+.

Date Session Network Program start time
Wednesday 14 February Daytona 500 qualifying FOX Sports 1 8pm ET
Thursday 15 February Duel Races 1 and 2 FOX Sports 1 6pm ET
Friday 16 February Daytona 500 Practice 1 FOX Sports 1 5:30pm ET
Saturday 17 February Daytona 500 Practice 2 FOX Sports 1 10:30am ET
Sunday 18 February Daytona 500 pre-race FOX Sports 1 11am ET
Sunday 18 February Daytona 500 race FOX 2:30pm ET

Viaplay Sports 1 will broadcast some Daytona 500 sessions over the week for non-American audiences.

On Thursday, February 15, Viaplay Sports 1 will debut both Duels live, with coverage commencing at 11:30 p.m. GMT. The next race on the network’s schedule is the Daytona 500, which takes place on Sunday, February 18. Pre-race coverage starts one hour before lights out at 6:30 p.m. GMT.

For new users, Viaplay Total Monthly costs £14.99 a month.

Date Session Network Program start time
Thursday 15 February Duel Races 1 and 2 Viaplay Sports 1 11:30pm GMT
Sunday 18 February Daytona 500 Viaplay Sports 1 6:30pm GMT

Where can you watch the Daytona 500 highlights?

Last year, the NASCAR on FOX YouTube channel posted highlights of the Daytona 500 shortly after it concluded, as well as the sessions that had preceded it that week.

Follow the different NASCAR platforms to see a highlights package – or the entire race again – as soon as it drops. The official NASCAR YouTube channel now features a full replay of the 2023 Daytona 500.

How is Daytona International Speedway classified as a track?

The start-finish area of Daytona’s 2.5-mile tri-oval circuit is situated in the grandstand-lined section of the tri-oval, and it has an 18-degree banking at its four designated corners.

It takes nearly four hours to finish the 200 laps around the track that make up the Daytona 500. It is one of three Cup circuits, along with Talladega Superspeedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, that are referred to be “drafting tracks”—where vehicles line up one behind the other to benefit from a speed boost similar to the slipstream.

This is not the same as the 3.56-mile sports car track used for the Daytona 24 Hours, which has 12 corners total, including all four banked turns and a portion of the infield.

Weather prediction for the Daytona 500

On the weekend of the 2024 Daytona 500, there is a chance of rain showers. The temperature will rise to 68F, and there will probably be a strong wind that will affect the drafting.

Given Daytona’s location on the Florida shore and the 500’s February date, rain is not common there. However, because of its tropical environment, long-range forecasts are frequently inaccurate.

When rain does fall at the speedway, it does it heavily! The last time it poured for the 500 was in 2021, and it caused an almost six-hour delay in the race! Because they only utilize slick tires, the cars won’t run in the rain, just like in the majority of American oval races.

Nevertheless, the weather the week before is not too dreadful, with bright conditions predicted for both the Daytona 500 qualifying and the Duels on Wednesday and Thursday.

NASCAR at Daytona Speedweeks schedule

Date and time Event
Wednesday 14 February  
8:15pm ET NASCAR Cup Daytona 500 Qualifying
Thursday 15 February  
5:05pm ET NASCAR Truck Series Practice
7pm ET NASCAR Cup Duel Race 1
8:45pm ET NASCAR Cup Duel Race 2
Friday 16 February  
3pm ET NASCAR Truck Series Qualifying
4:35pm ET NASCAR Xfinity Series Practice
5:35pm ET NASCAR Cup Daytona 500 Practice 1
7:30pm ET NASCAR Truck Series Daytona 250
Saturday 17 February  
10:30am ET Daytona 500 Practice 2
11:30am ET NASCAR Xfinity Series Qualifying
5pm ET NASCAR Xfinity Series Daytona 300
Sunday 18 February  
2:30pm ET Daytona 500

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