Daytona 500 Qualifying Schedule 2014: Date, Start Time, TV Info and More

R. Cory SmithSenior Writer IFebruary 14, 2014

Jimmie Johnson (48) races in front of Dale Earnhardt Jr. during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race in Homestead, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Darryl Graham)
Darryl Graham/Associated Press

The days between now and the Daytona 500 can officially be counted on two hands.

With that said, there is still much to be determined about the biggest race of the year for NASCAR fans. Several exciting races are set to take place during Speedweeks, but the most pivotal will be in the qualifying events to help set the field.

Often referred to as NASCAR's Super Bowl, the Daytona 500 is completely different from any other race in that the qualifying is not just limited to a few laps around the oval but rather a series of races to decide the starting order.

Several drivers are simply anxious to return to the track, but none more so than Tony Stewart. After missing 15 races last season due to a broken leg, Stewart will finally get back on the track during practice and qualifying coming up.

And with his return to the a stock car beginning during practice for the Sprint Unlimited and the race itself, Stewart believes he'll have plenty of time to get reacquainted with the track, per Nate Ryan of USA Today:

If there's something in the seat that would be a problem, it'll probably show up Saturday night [...] That gives us a week to get things sorted out. If there's something we need to change, this is the best-case scenario. We have plenty of opportunity to make adjustments.

The practices for the Sprint Unlimited race begins on Friday, and the Budweiser Duels will get underway next week.

Before any of the events get started, here is a look at the schedule leading up to the Daytona 500 and how the qualifying events will go down.


Daytona 500 Qualifying Schedule

Daytona 500 Qualifying

When: Sun., Feb. 16, 1:05 p.m. ET

Where: Daytona Motor Speedway

TV: Fox

Live Stream: Fox Sports Go


Sprint Cup Budweiser Duels

When: Thurs., Feb. 20, 7 p.m. ET

Where: Daytona Motor Speedway

TV: Fox Sports 1

Live Stream: Fox Sports Go


Breakdown of Events

Until cars get on the track, it's tough to predict who will be the big winner in the qualifying rounds. But regardless of who wins, they are always entertaining.

But with Daytona qualifying, nearly every driver has to earn their place. Here's a look at how the format works:

  • The two fastest qualifiers from the Feb. 16 round will be in the front row in positions No. 1 and 2. The pole-sitter will take the inside line while the second overall qualifier will be on the outside.
  • On Thursday, the Budweiser Duels will be chosen by the way drivers qualified. Odd-numbered spots will run the first race to set the lineup for the odd-numbered starting positions on the inside line. Even-numbered qualifiers run the second race to set the lineup for the even-numbered starting spots on the outside line.
  • Drivers who finish inside the top 15 of their Duel will qualify for positions Nos. 3-32 in the race.
  • As for the drivers who didn’t make it through the qualifying races, the fastest four speeds in qualifying Feb. 16 will make up positions Nos. 33-36 for the field.
  • The guaranteed spots for drivers who don't qualify in the previous fields will go to 2013 owner points. Therefore, these cars will be lined up based on owner points, with their speed not factoring in. These positions are Nos. 37-42 on the track.
  • Position No. 43, the final in the race, will go to the past year's champion if the driver did not qualify.

Basically, every fan favorite will be in the race based on the qualifying factors that go into making up the field.

The Budweiser Duels are both 60 laps each and should provide a fan-friendly race that is much more fast-paced. With the need to get into one of the top 15 spots being so crucial, the Duels are always one of the highlights of the week.

This season, the guaranteed spots would go to Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon if all six didn't make the field by either taking one of the top two positions in qualifying or posting a top-15 finish in the Duels.

As for the final position, if there are no former champions out of the field, NASCAR will put in a seventh provisional starter based on owner points, just like the six previously added in Nos. 37-42.

And you thought the new Chase system was difficult to understand? This has always been complex.

Regardless of how well fans understand the process, there is plenty of reason to be excited. NASCAR is back.


Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter: