The NFL season came to a close last week with Super Bowl LV, and with that event in the rear-view mirror, sports fans are shifting their focus to Daytona 500 2021. The Great American Race takes place today and will mark the start of the Cup Series season. Here are the Daytona 500 time, channel and other how to watch factoids to know ahead of the highly-anticipated NASCAR race.
The Daytona 500 starts at 2:30 p.m. ET and will air on Fox, with Fubo TV as an option to watch. MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will provide radio coverage for those unable to watch at home. The commentary booth will look different in 2021 considering that recently-retired driver Clint Bowyer will join Jeff Gordon and Mike Joy in the booth while serving as an analyst. The former Stewart-Haas Racing driver will mark the return to a three-man booth while providing his own unique style of commentary.
The #DAYTONA500. That's the tweet.
TODAY | 2:30 PM ET | FOX pic.twitter.com/LGDMDo7EI1— NASCAR (@NASCAR) February 14, 2021
In addition to changes in the booth, the Daytona 500 will also feature a noticeably smaller crowd due to COVID-19. NASCAR officials announced at the beginning of February that only an estimated 30,000 fans will be able to attend the season-opening race. This change ends the long-running streak of sellouts at Daytona International Speedway, a venue with a 101,500-person capacity.
Fans that are able to attend the race on Sunday will have the opportunity to take part in a pre-race tradition. They will watch country star Luke Combs perform his first concert since the pandemic disrupted several industries. NASCAR has not had live music since Pitbull and Blake Shelton partnered prior to the race at Phoenix. Additionally, these fans will see Mr. Worldwide himself give the command for the drivers to start their engines while serving as the grand marshal.
The Daytona 500 will feature several drivers suiting up for different teams, such as Bubba Wallace and Daniel Suarez. Similarly, Kyle Larson will make his Cup Series return from a 2020 suspension while driving the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. Larson has not taken part in a Cup race since the mid-season pause, resulting in him being both nervous and excited at the same time as he adjusts to new teammates and a different car.
"The team is twice as big as what I’m used to," Larson told reporters, per NBC Sports. "Meeting all these people is a bit overwhelming especially when you see only half of their face. I’ll hopefully get to meet everybody again someday when we don’t have masks and really be able to put a face with a name."