First stop of the Season, Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida … a two-point-five-mile oval with thirty-one degrees of banking in the turns, three degrees on the straights and eighteen degrees through the front stretch tri-oval. The length of the front stretch is thirty-eight hundred feet, the backstretch three thousand feet. The race starts at 6:00 pm on Saturday.
The Front-Row Qualifying for the 58th Daytona 500 will be the following day, Sunday, at 12 pm.
Last year, it was an all-Chevrolet front row made up of Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon, who won the pole, and Jimmie Johnson in the unique qualifying format which guarantees only the top two drivers their starting positions in the Daytona 500. On race day last season, Johnson finished fifth while Gordon labored to a thirty-third-place finish. The last pole sitter to win the “five hundred” was Dale Jarrett in 2000. The last driver to win back-to-back Daytona 500 poles was Ken Schrader, who put three in a row together from 1988 to 1990. The remainder of the forty-car starting field will be set in Thursday’s Can-Am Duel twin-qualifying races.