“The Great American Race”
The most prestigious sporting event among American sports typically happens at the end of the season. NASCAR’s comes at the beginning.
The Daytona 500 has kicked off every NASCAR season since 1982, and the 59th running of the race will kick off this weekend. It returns to its traditional spot on Presidential Weekend after being held a week later in the past several years.
Martin Truex Jr. will begin his title defense after dominating NASCAR a year ago at the age of 37, finishing in the top 10 in 26 of 36 races, including 19 top five finishes and eight wins.
Despite that dominance, he’s not the favorite at Daytona. The 500-mile race is always wide open, and there’s plenty up for grabs, thanks to NASCAR’s new format. But every driver will be gunning for that Daytona 500 title.
Alex Bowman won the pole after recording the fastest time around the track in qualifying Sunday. Bowman took over for the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet previously driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., who retired a season ago.
If you aren’t an avid follower of NASCAR or simply haven’t watched the sport in awhile, you need to know about the race format changes implemented by NASCAR before the 2017 season.
Races consist of three stages—the top 10 finishers in each stage are awarded additional championship points that contribute to their place in the overall standings. The top finisher in each of the first two stages receives 10 points, second place receives nine points, and so on.
But of course, winning the final stage (and thus the overall race) is still the most important. Winners receive 40 points, second place takes 35, third place gets 34, and so on.
It’s designed to keep fan interest throughout the race, as every portion of the race means something for drivers. This can be particularly important at a race like Daytona, when “The Big One” frequently wipes out racers late.
Drivers To Watch
Brad Keselowski — Vegas odds list Keselowski as the current favorite. He finished fourth in the standings a year ago, but has not placed in the top 10 at Daytona since 2014. Keselowski last won a NASCAR title in 2012, and he feels due for a big year based on his recent success. A win at Daytona would kick off the pursuit of his second title with a bang.
Chase Elliott — One of the younger and more popular faces in NASCAR, Elliott has won the pole position at Daytona each of the past two seasons. But despite his talent and a fifth-place finish in last year’s standings, Elliott has yet to secure his first career win at the top level of racing. He’s absolutely due, and what a story it would be to pick up that first win on racing’s biggest stage.
Kyle Larson — His name won’t draw as much attention, but Larson won four races a year ago and finished eighth in the NASCAR standings. He’s also raced well at Daytona of late, finishing in the top 15 in 2016 and 2017. While Larson struggled down the stretch last season, he got off to a torrid start, finishing in the top two in five of his first six races, including a win at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. Larson almost certainly finish well, and he may sneak up and win it all.
How To Watch The Daytona 500 Online
The Daytona 500 is on FOX but cord-cutters can still watch The Great American Race. Here are some services that will allow you to stream the game online.
DirecTV NOW offers FOX in every one of their packages, including the base “Live A Little” package. You get over 60 channels for $35/month with the option to add movie channels for an extra $5 to $8 per month.
Give it a try before you subscribe, DirecTV Now offers a FREE TRIAL.
Sling TV offers FOX as a part of the Sling Blue package which costs $25/month. It’s available in select markets so be sure to you can get FOX.
Sling TV offers a FREE TRIAL if you want to give it a try.
YouTube TV includes over 50 channels for $35/month. You get FOX and other major networks like ABC, NBC, and CBS, plus more. Plus, you get 5 ESPN channels, 3 FOX Sports Channels, and CBS Sports.
Hulu With Live TV
Hulu With Live TV offers over 50 channels and costs $39.99/month. This includes networks like NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX. AND get access to the full Hulu on demand library. They offer a free trial if this sounds like the streaming service for you.
FOX is a network station so you can watch on an over-the-air antenna. A HD antenna can be combined with your streaming services to give you a wide range of entertainment options. Devices like the AirTV Player can be combined with your digital antenna so you can access your streaming services and your antenna all in one place.
That’s everything you need to know. Now get ready for the Daytona 500!
It’s on Sunday, February 18th at 2:30 pm EST on Fox.