NASCAR fans have gotten a small taste of action during the start of Daytona Speedweeks, but now things are really about to pick up.
Over the next four days, there will be some form of competitive racing across NASCAR's top three series each day. That begins with Thursday night's Monster Energy Cup Series Gander RV Duels at Daytona, the qualifying races that will set the starting order for Sunday's Daytona 500.
There will also be the Gander Outdoors Truck Series race on Friday night, followed by the Xfinity Series race on Saturday afternoon. NASCAR's opening week will conclude with the Great American Race on Sunday afternoon.
So far during Daytona Speedweeks, William Byron and Alex Bowman secured the top two starting spots for the Daytona 500 during qualifying this past Sunday afternoon. Then, later in the day, Jimmie Johnson won the rain-shortened Advance Auto Parts Clash.
But there's plenty more action for fans to catch this weekend.
Upcoming NASCAR Schedule
Thursday, Feb. 14
Gander Outdoors Truck Series practice, 2:35 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 2
Gander Outdoors Truck Series final practice, 4:35 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 2
Monster Energy Cup Series Gander RV Duel 1 at Daytona, 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Monster Energy Cup Series Gander RV Duel 2 at Daytona, 9 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Friday, Feb. 15
Xfinity Series practice, 12:05 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Monster Energy Cup Series practice, 1:05 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Xfinity Series final practice, 2:05 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Monster Energy Cup Series practice, 3:05 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Gander Outdoors Truck Series qualifying, 4:40 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Gander Outdoors Truck Series NextEra Energy 250, 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Saturday, Feb. 16
Xfinity Series qualifying, 9:40 a.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Monster Energy Cup Series final practice, 12:05 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Xfinity Series NASCAR Racing Experience 300, 2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Sunday, Feb. 17
Monster Energy Cup Series Daytona 500, 2:30 p.m. ET, Fox
Daytona 500 Preview
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about this year's Daytona 500 is that it will be the final Cup Series race to feature restrictor plates.
After Sunday, the cars' engines will no longer have restrictor plates at the two superspeedway tracks, Daytona and Talladega. This will certainly change how these races unfold in future years.
But for now, fans can expect one more afternoon filled with pack racing in which drivers will try to avoid major wrecks that could collect up to half the field.
Over the past nine years, there have been nine different Daytona 500 winners, and six of them will be in this year's field—Jamie McMurray (2010 winner), Jimmie Johnson (2013), Joey Logano (2015), Denny Hamlin (2016), Kurt Busch (2017) and Austin Dillon (2018).
Dillon notched his first career Cup Series victory in last year's Great American Race, but he was winless in the remaining 35 races of the season.
If the early parts of Daytona Speedweeks are any indication, then the four Hendrick Motorsports cars could be strong contenders to win the Daytona 500. Not only did Johnson win the Advance Auto Parts Clash, but he and his three teammates (Byron, Bowman and Chase Elliott) had the four fastest lap times during the final round of qualifying.
Logano may have the most momentum entering the 2019 season, as he won last year's Cup Series championship, the first of his career, by winning last year's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Logano, who is entering his 11th full-time Cup Series season, finished in the top five in five of the last seven races of 2018.