NASCAR: Daytona 500 Makes One Slight Change to Race

by Jonathan Howard

Now, this is a new season for NASCAR. And, already there have been changes. Expect more changes as the Daytona 500 is around the corner.

When things kick off down in Florida and the green flag is waved, drivers down on the track will have slightly different qualifying formatting. The Daytona 500 is a legendary and sacred event every season. So, changes don’t come lightly. However, this one should be for the best, it seems.

Before everything takes place this Sunday, February 20 at 2:30 PM EST, a 40-car field is slated to advance through a few rounds of qualifying. First, it will be single-car qualifying which will take place in two days on Wednesday. After that, Thursday brings Bluegreen Vacation Duels. Up to this point, everything is just as it has been for a while.

Single car qualifying is going to actually end up being a two-round event. In the past, the top two drivers in the qualifying round would take the top positions in the Daytona 500. NASCAR also used the round to determine the field for the Duels. Now, instead of just one round, the top-10 drivers from the qualifying are going to advance to a second round. From there the top-2 will claim those spots in the main event. The round of 10 will also determine the top-10 in the qualifying results.

Things are reverting a bit to how NASCAR handled things prior to 2020. This rule change not only applies to regular season Daytona races but also applies to Talladega. Fans might remember that in 2019 and before, the second qualifying round was made up of 12 drivers. This shortens up the field in the second round a bit but effectively does the same thing.

NASCAR Takes to Daytona 500 for First Shot at Cup Series Points

So, everything in the LA Coliseum Busch Light Clash was pretty much awesome. There were some teams that struggled to tune into the new Next Gen cars. However, all things considered, new cars, temporary brand new track, super small track, and more… big success for NASCAR. But, there weren’t any Cup Series points up for grabs. Lots of money, sure, but nothing meaningful to the season, really.

Now, the Daytona 500, that’s an event that means a whole lot. It starts the official season off. A legendary venue, points are up for grabs, and it’s a complete sellout, days ahead of the race. NASCAR fans are absolutely pumped for this and there are going to be roughly 150,000 fans screaming in the stands.

Daytona International Speedway has been home to many great races. At the very least, memorable races. There is going to be a lot of pomp and circumstance around this event. This might be the most electric audience we have seen at a NASCAR event since the beginning of the 2020 season after such a great start to the season. It’s a whole week of fun in Daytona for the 500 and should be a good time as fans move in and out throughout the week leading up to the race.