Daytona 500 Schedule: Complete Viewer's Guide for NASCAR Opener

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IFebruary 22, 2013

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 17: Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Patrick became the first woman in the history of NASCAR to win a Sprint Cup Pole.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

The 55th running of the Daytona 500 will take place on Sunday afternoon from the iconic Daytona International Speedway on the East Coast of Florida.

For the first time in history, a female will start on the pole. Danica Patrick recorded the fastest time in qualifying this past week, earning the top starting spot for the Great American Race. But Patrick will be up against 42 other competitors this weekend, as she looks to fend off a pack of hungry drivers, including last year's winner Matt Kenseth.

With the green flag set to wave this weekend, here's everything you need to know to make sure you don't miss a single lap of this year's Daytona 500.

When: Sunday, Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. ET

Where: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla.

Watch: FOX

Live Streaming: NASCAR RaceView

Smart Phone: NASCAR Mobile '13 App

What to Watch For

New Gen-6 Cars

NASCAR fans will notice a major change to all 43 cars in Sunday's race, as this weekend will mark the first showcase event for the new Generation-6 Sprint Cup cars.ย 

The concept behind these cars is that they will now look much more similar to their make and model, giving them some added personality out on the track. Before, few could tell a Ford from a Chevrolet, or a Toyota from a Dodge.ย 

Now, each will have a "distinctive appearance," according to NASCAR.com.

The Big One

Daytona's 2.5 mile tri-oval makes for great racing, but it can also lead to catastrophe. With the drivers reaching speeds not far off 200 mph, one wrong move or mechanical failure like a flat tire can wipe out dozens of cars and change the outcome of the race.

It seems every year the big one strikes at tracks like Daytona and Talladega. The only question is when?

Knowing that it's almost a certainty, drivers will be pushing to get to the front early and keep their noses out of trouble.

Intense Racingย 

The Daytona 500 is often considered to be NASCAR's Super Bowl, and for good reason. The season's opening race is one of the most prestigious in motor sports. That's why fans can expect all 43 drivers to be racing as if their lives depended on it on Sunday.

For the drivers who haven't won, getting to victory lane is everything. And for those who have tasted victory at Daytona, the motivation to get back to the winner's circle is just as strong.

Expect some intense racing on Sunday afternoon. Drivers will be taking plenty of risks to get to the front, and as always, strategy is sure to play a pivotal role in determining a 2013 champion.

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.ย 

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