For sports fans, February is a month to remember! First, the 2nd month of the year starts with NFL “flagship event”: the Superbowl (if you live under a rock, the Kansas City Chiefs won over the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35). Then, for people who have Sunoco Green E15 in their veins, the Daytona 500 kicks off the NASCAR season. And if you’re looking for info regarding the 2023 Great American Race, Art of Gears gives you all you need to know about the 2023 Daytona 500.
What is the 2023 Daytona 500?
The 2023 Daytona 500 is the first event of the 2023 NASCAR Season taking place on February 19th. Considered as “The Superbowl of NASCAR”, it makes 40 drivers do everything they can in their Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota to cross the finish line in 1st position.
The distance of the race is 500 miles (you wonder why it was called Daytona 500?) which is 200 laps. Yes, that’s quite a lot.
The race takes place at the Daytona Beach International Speedway (Florida), close to Daytona Beach, where NASCAR had its first race on February 15, 1948. The track is 2.5 miles long, which represents 4 kilometers.
Why is this race so important?
Every motorsport series has its crown jewel. Formula 1 has Monaco, Endurance Racing has Le Mans, Indycar has Indianapolis, and NASCAR has the Daytona 500. Apart from NASCAR having its headquarters there, Daytona 500 is the first event that kicks off the NASCAR season. Every team and driver wants to make a good impression and show their strength ahead of the 35 other races happening during the 2023 calendar year.
The first race of the NASCAR season is also awaited by the fans. In 2022, the event was sold out. All the seats and RV spots around the oval were bought by speed-hungry spectators. This means more than 100k (101,000) spectators were on the edge of their seats to witness Austin Cindric’s win. One to remember: it was his first (and only, to this date) in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Who are the drivers to follow?
40 drivers but one winner. That’s how you could sum up NASCAR in general. Here are 3 drivers that we advised you to take a glance at:
How can you not follow a winner? Chase Elliott is the most victorious driver in the Gen-7 car era (5 wins last year) and happens to be a multi-track type driver. Speedway, Superspeedway, or short track, the son of Bill Elliott (1988 NASCAR Champion) is definitely someone you should follow and expect to win anywhere. No wonder why he was awarded for the fifth time in a row the Nascar Most popular driver award in December 2022.
After 14 years with Joe Gibbs Racing, Kyle Busch will be driving for a new team. And what a team: the Richard Childress Racing. Let’s face it, the native from Las Vegas was dumped by his former team and what do you want to do when you face those circumstances? Prove them wrong. And for the two-time Nascar Champion (in 2015 and 2019), it seems it’s the right time to shine after finishing 13th in the standings in 2022, tied with his worst-season ranking since 2009.
Things always come in three and with two wins in his career, you can expect to see Bubba Wallace in the victory lane one more time this year. Runner-up of the 2022 Daytona 500, the 23XI racer (a team owned by NBA Legend Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin) since 2021 surely wants to win the Great American Race. His regularity last season makes him one of the potential drivers you should see in the playoffs. That’s about time. After six years in the Cup series, Bubba Wallace always failed to qualify in the Top-16.
Can you tell me some records of the race?
You belong to the NASCAR Elite Tier if you won the Daytona 500. Dale Earnhardt (who lost his life on the last corner of the last lap of the 2001 race) won it twice, Jeff Gordon three times, and Cale Yarborough four. But above them, there is one name well-known by NASCAR aficionados: Richard Petty. The King of Nascar triumphed seven times at the event with his notorious #43 blue and red STP car.
Team-wise, Petty Enterprises (owned by Richard Petty and his family) won 9 times the race but are catch-up by the powerful Hendrick Motorsports (8 wins).
On the manufacturer’s side, Chevrolet leads the ranking with 23 wins when his closest rival, Ford, earns 17 victories at The Great American Race. With three wins, Toyota is the actual manufacturer who has the least wins in the event. When you know how historically important the mantra “Win on Sunday, buy on Monday” is in NASCAR, you can bet the Japanese manufacturer won’t be against some “free publicity” in the United States if they win this Sunday, February 19th, 2023.
Are there any music events prior to the race?
For anyone who wanted music in their lives, there will not only be the delicious sound of the V8 engines for the 65 tenure of the Daytona 500, but also the artist Breland will sing the National Anthem and the 12-time Grammy-Awards nominated country singer Dierks Bentley will follow before the 40 drivers start their engines. Ok, it won’t be as wild as the Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show by Rihanna, but who needs fireworks and extravagant choreography when you can enjoy the sound of stock cars racing on 31 degrees banked turns?
Where to watch (or listen to) it?
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 19TH
1 p.m. : Pre-Race Show : Nascar RaceDay (FOX)
2:30 p.m. : 2023 Daytona 500 (FOX)
PSA : Do not worry if you cannot watch the race on time, Fox Sports 1 will re-air the event at
11:00 p.m. on the same day.
1:30 p.m. : 2023 Daytona 500 (MRN)