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The Complete Weekend Schedule for the Daytona 500

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

It’s finally here. This weekend is the official season opener, and the biggest race of the NASCAR season, the Daytona 500. Before we get to the Daytona 500, there’s Speedweeks at Daytona, which features 5 consecutive days of on-track activity across 4 racing series. Here is how the fans can follow all of the NASCAR action throughout Speedweeks.

  • “Speedweeks” serves as the official kickoff for the NASCAR season. Every National Touring Series takes part in the festivities alongside ARCA, and the week culminated with the “Great American Race”, the Daytona 500.
  • This Daytona 500 is unlike any other race in the NASCAR season. It’s the only points-paying Cup Series race that sets its’ lineup based on qualifying races, and it is one of the few races of the year where drivers will be sent home.
  • Fans are excited about Speedweeks because NASCAR is officially back. While the Clash was the appetizer, the season truly starts at Daytona.

***This article will be updated with short recaps of Speedweeks as the week progresses.

Weekend TV Schedule (All Times ET)

Wednesday, February 14th (Cup Qualifying)

Daytona 500 pole qualifying saw Ford sweep the front row with Joey Logano on the pole and Michael McDowell on the outside of the front row. It was the first time a Hendrick Chevrolet did not qualify on the pole since 2014 when Austin Dillon and Martin Truex Jr. were on the front row. As far as the Open entrants, Anthony Alfredo and David Ragan are locked into the race by qualifying time, leaving Jimmie Johnson, B.J. McLeod, J.J. Yeley, and Kaz Grala to duke it out in the Duels.

Thursday, February 15th (Cup Series Duel Races)

The Duel races proved to be WILD on Thursday night. Toyotas swept both of the race wins with Tyler Reddick winning the first Duel and Christopher Bell winning the second. The open car fights came down to the last corner of the last lap with Jimmie Johnson and Kaz Grala racing their way in alongside the two who qualified on speed, Anthony Alfredo and David Regan.

Friday, February 16th (Truck Series/ARCA Menards Series Race)

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series held their season opener on Friday night, the Fresh from Florida 250. A chaotic race featuring 12 caution flags saw Nick Sanchez escape with the win as the second “Big One” of the night happened behind him. It was Sanchez’s first career win.

The ARCA Menards Series race was moved from Saturday afternoon to late Friday night in anticipation of the weather on Saturday. It was every bit as chaotic as the Truck Series race, as Gus Dean walked away with the win after a massive crash in overtime.

Saturday, February 17th (Xfinity Series Race POSTPONED)

While NASCAR was able to squeeze in the qualifying session on Saturday afternoon, the rains came and drenched the track before the race could get started. The race was postponed to Monday at 11 AM ET, but more rain forced the race to be moved to 9 PM ET on Monday night. The forecast seems clear for that time.

Sunday, February 18th (Cup Series Race POSTPONED)

The 2024 Daytona 500 was postponed from Sunday at 2:30 PM ET to Monday afternoon/evening at 4:00 PM ET. It’s the second time in the event’s history that the race has been outright postponed to Monday, joining the 2012 Daytona 500. The 2020 Daytona 500 saw 20 laps of racing on Sunday before the rest of the race was moved to Monday.

Monday, February 19th (Cup Series/Xfinity Series Races)

  • 4:00 PM – Cup Series Daytona 500 on FOX (200 Laps, 500 Miles)
  • ~9:00 PM – Xfinity Series United Rentals 300 on FS1 (120 Laps, 300 Miles)

The Quirks of Speedweeks

Speedweeks is a very unique weekend, and no NASCAR race has a qualifying procedure quite like the Daytona 500. As a result, there are some things for fans to be aware of as the weekend progresses.

How Does Qualifying Work?

For most NASCAR Cup Series races, the qualifying sessions determine the starting lineup, but, that is not the case for the Daytona 500. Daytona 500 pole qualifying only determines the front-row starters, and those are the only two with starting positions locked after Wednesday. The rest of the qualifiers get their starting spot for the Duel races on Thursday night. For more about how the qualifying session works, check out the article below.

The rest of the lineup is determined by finishing positions in the Duel races. The 36 chartered teams are locked in regardless of where they finish in the Duels. The other 5 entries, considered “Open” entries, duke it out for the other 5 spots.

The 4 “Open” spots are split with the first two reserved for the highest finishing Open entry in each duel, and the final two for the fastest qualifying day speeds amongst not already qualified Open entrants. Therefore, the top 2 Open Cars on Qualifying Day lock into the field. For more information on Daytona 500 qualifying check out the article below.

What if it Rains?

As of right now, the weather forecast does not look too kind for Daytona 500 weekend. NASCAR does not have wet weather equipment at Daytona, so, they cannot race in the rain or the damp.

If it does rain, NASCAR has some open space on the schedule, particularly on Thursday or Friday morning to fit in events like the Duels and Pole Qualifying if needed. If the Truck or Xfinity Series races are rained out, NASCAR can choose to either run those races late on Saturday or Sunday night or push them to Monday.

As for the Daytona 500, NASCAR has to simply pray for dry weather. If it rains, NASCAR has no choice but to wait out the rain. While NASCAR’s goal is to get the race in on Sunday, they will push it to Monday if they have to. Read the article below for a more in-depth look at NASCAR’s options for wet weather.

Speedweeks is now here, and the 2024 NASCAR season gets underway in earnest this weekend. It should be a fun weekend, should the weather hold off.

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Joshua Lipowski

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