It's like the NFL's Super Bowl and baseball's Opening Day all wrapped into one.
The Daytona 500 marks the beginning of another NASCAR season. On Sunday from Daytona Beach, Fla., the world's greatest stock car drivers will take to one of the most historic race tracks in the world.
There are several intriguing storylines heading into this NASCAR season. Aside from the pageantry associated with the sport's biggest race, we'll also watch the first chapter of the stories that will interest fans all year.
As always, all eyes will be on Danica Patrick, especially in wake of Richard Petty's recent comments. Though she is a long shot to win the race, just competing at the event is thrilling in and of itself. Patrick is a polarizing driver who will spark reaction from fans and mainstream media regardless of where she finishes.
Rapper 50 Cent may be endorsing Cole Whitt as a driver to watch for on Sunday, but it is difficult to envision the 22-year-old pulling off the monumental upset. A top-10 finish would be a big accomplishment at Daytona, but fans should anticipate Whitt to hover with the middle of the pack.
Here's how you can watch the action.
When: Sunday, Feb. 23, at 1 p.m. ET
Where: Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
|1||3||Austin Dillon||DOW Chevrolet|
|2||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Furniture Row Chevrolet|
|3||20||Matt Kenseth||Dollar General Toyota|
|4||11||Denny Hamlin||FedEx Express Toyota|
|5||5||Kasey Kahne||Farmers Insurance Chevrolet|
|6||24||Jeff Gordon||Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet|
|7||9||Marcos Ambrose||Stanley Ford|
|8||41||Kurt Busch||Haas Automation Chevrolet|
|9||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||National Guard Chevrolet|
|10||27||Paul Menard||Peak/Menards Chevrolet|
|11||98||Josh Wise||Curb Records Ford|
|12||33||Brian Scott||Whitetail Chevrolet|
|13||43||Aric Almirola||Smithfield Ford|
|14||21||Trevor Bayne||Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford|
|15||47||AJ Allmendinger||Kroger/USO Chevrolet|
|16||42||Kyle Larson||Target Chevrolet|
|17||38||David Gilliland||Love's Travel Stops Ford|
|18||40||Landon Cassill||Hillman Racing Chevrolet|
|19||31||Ryan Newman||Caterpillar Chevrolet|
|20||15||Clint Bowyer||5-hour Energy Toyota|
|21||14||Tony Stewart||Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet|
|22||1||Jamie McMurray||McDonald's Chevrolet|
|23||26||Cole Whitt||Speed Stick Gear Toyota|
|24||32||Terry Labonte||C&J Energy Services Ford|
|25||16||Greg Biffle||3M Ford|
|26||52||Bobby Labonte||Phoenix Construction Chevrolet|
|27||10||Danica Patrick||GoDaddy Chevrolet|
|28||13||Casey Mears||GEICO Chevrolet|
|29||23||Alex Bowman||Dr. Pepper Toyota|
|30||99||Carl Edwards||Fastenal Ford|
|31||55||Brian Vickers||Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota|
|32||48||Jimmie Johnson||Lowe's Chevrolet|
|33||2||Brad Keselowski||Miller Lite Ford|
|34||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Nationwide Insurance Ford|
|35||22||Joey Logano||Shell Pennzoil Ford|
|36||7||Michael Annett||Pilot/Flying J Travel Centers Chevrolet|
|37||18||Kyle Busch||M&M's Toyota|
|38||4||Kevin Harvick||Budweiser Chevrolet|
|39||36||Reed Sorenson||Golden Corral Chevrolet|
|40||51||Justin Allgaier||Brandt Professional Agriculture Chevrolet|
|41||30||Parker Kligerman||Swan Energy Toyota|
|42||66||Michael Waltrip||BlueDEF/AAA Toyota|
|43||34||David Ragan||CSX - Play It Safe Ford|
Drivers to Watch
The 23-year-old rookie from North Carolina captured the pole position and could kick off his career on the circuit with a bang. Winning at Daytona is a huge task for a seasoned veteran, but doing so as a rookie would be special.
Dillon had the pole wrapped up heading into the first Budweiser Duel Thursday. His speeds seemed to dip considerably from the beginning of the race to the end. David Newton of ESPN doesn't know if that was by design since the No. 1 spot was already wrapped up.
Dillon has handled his move into the Sprint Cup Series well so far, winning the pole and leading early in this race. But he's still got a ways to go to get the famed No. 3 in Victory Lane, finishing 19th. Or maybe he was just playing it safe, knowing he already had the pole and there was no need to take chances.
As the man in the No. 3 car and the man in the pole position, there is a ton of pressure on him to perform well Sunday and over the long haul.
He's already won this race twice in his career. A win Sunday would tie Jeff Gordon for the most among active drivers.
Last year, Kenseth finished second to Jimmie Johnson in the Sprint Cup standings. He had the most wins of all drivers with seven. He can do a lot to establish himself as the same kind of major contender in 2014 with a win Sunday.
The 41-year-old took the first pre-race Duel in a close finish Thursday, so he and his team are already looking to be in fine shape for Sunday. He out-drove Kevin Harvick to pick up the win after a rough week in preliminary runs that featured a collision.
Per Nate Ryan of USA Today, Kenseth said this after winning the Duel: "Kevin is one of the best, and he made the perfect move. I was just fortunate to get to his right rear early enough to get a big enough run to the finish line."
There's been a lot of talk about rookies and veterans like Tony Stewart, who is returning from a broken leg suffered in 2013, but there's not been enough chatter about the six-time—and reigning—Sprint Cup Series champion, who also happens to be the two-time and defending champion at Daytona.
That would, of course, be the man in the No. 48 car.
He only managed to get the 32nd spot on the grid, but the winner of the race has come from that spot two times before. Most recently, Trevor Bayne won from there in 2011.
Can Johnson start the march toward a seventh Sprint Cup championship Sunday? You'll have to tune in to see.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!