The Daytona 500 takes place on Sunday afternoon, kicking off the Cup Series season. Before the highly-anticipated event, the drivers took part in qualifying sessions and short races to determine the starting lineup. Here is the order in which they will head to the green flag.
Alex Bowman will lead the field after securing the pole position during Wednesday night's qualifying session. He had the fastest lap in the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro. William Byron will start next to him in the stat sheet after posting the second-fastest lap in the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro, but he moved to the rear of the field after switching to his backup car. The two Hendrick Motorsports drivers will sit in front of the pack ahead of 500 miles of racing action.
While Byron and Bowman had the opportunity to secure their starting positions in the qualifying sessions, the remaining drivers had to fight for spots during the Duels 1 and 2 on Thursday night. The first race, which Stewart-Haas driver Aric Almirola won, determined the inside row of the field. He will line up in the third position. Austin Dillon will take the fourth position after winning the Duels 2, which determined the outside row of the field.
Several fan-favorite drivers are sitting near the front of the pack at the start of the Daytona 500. Bubba Wallace, who is making his debut for 23XI Racing, nearly won the Duels 2 after pulling in front of Dillon on the final section of the track. However, he was unable to block a crossover move that gave Dillon the win. Wallace finished second and will start on the third row in the sixth position.
Denny Hamlin, the winner of the 2020 Daytona 500, will have to make up considerable ground during the race to win the Crown Jewel race once again. He will start back on the 13th row and will have to pass Kurt Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Matt DiBenedetto, and Ryan Newman among others in order to reach the front of the pack.
The Daytona 500 takes place Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET. Fox will broadcast the action from Daytona International Speedway while Jeff Gordon, Mike Joy, and Clint Bowyer man the booth. MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will provide audio coverage. Prior to the race, Pitbull will serve as grand marshal and tell the drivers to start their engines. WWE star Sasha Banks will then wave the green flag as an honorary starter.