The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series is almost upon us, with the best drivers in the world heading to Daytona International Speedway for Sunday's Daytona 500.
Kyle Busch is looking to defend his title, having won the 2019 championship ahead of Martin Truex Jr. in dramatic fashion. A year ago, he was second in the Daytona season curtain-raiser, with Denny Hamlin coming out on top.
With a long year ahead, the competitors will not be thinking about postseason qualification yet—rather, the chance to add a prestigious win to their respective resumes. Here is the schedule for the weekend's action, the viewing information for the race and a preview of what's to come.
Daytona 500 Schedule
Thursday, February 13
7 p.m.: Bluegreen Vacations Duel No. 1. (Fox Sports 1)
8:45 p.m.: Bluegreen Vacations Duel No. 2. (Fox Sports 1)
Friday, February 14
5:05 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.: Daytona 500 Practice. (Fox Sports 1)
Saturday, February 15
12:30 p.m. to 1:20 p.m.: Daytona 500 Final Practice. (Fox Sports 1)
Sunday, February 16
2:30 p.m.: Daytona 500. (Fox)
Qualifying for the race took place on Sunday, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Alex Bowman will be starting on the front row thanks to their times:
Daytona is always one of the most anticipated races on the NASCAR calendar, as a win at this 500-mile event resonates a little more than victories at other venues on the circuit.
Sunday's Busch Clash proved to be a sweet appetiser for this race, with defending Cup Series champion Busch participating along with fellow former winners such as Joey Logano, Truex and Jimmie Johnson. It was Erik Jones who prevailed in overtime, however, beating Ryan Newman with a final-lap pass.
This is what he had to say after the win:
Here are the highlights from an eventful day at Daytona:
Victory in the Great American Race is frequently a springboard for a strong campaign.
Busch will no doubt be feeling confident after his success in 2019, when he did enough to hold off Joe Gibbs Racing team-mate Truex at Homestead-Miami Speedway to secure his second NASCAR Cup.
Last year was the closest he has come to winning this iconic race. That performance prompted a blistering start to the season for the champion, with three wins and a further two podium finishes in his first eight races of the campaign.
His preparations for this season didn't get off to the best of starts, though, as he was involved in a big crash with Logano at the Busch Clash:
Afterwards, Logano's team-mate Brad Keselowski, who was collected in the wreck, wasn't best pleased.
"Just got wrecked for no reason," he said, per Michelle R. Martinelli of FTW Racing. "Dumb, dumb racing. Just dumb moves being thrown out there. Guys that don't know what they're doing throwing crazy-ass blocks, and it's just ridiculous. We shouldn't be wrecking all these cars."
Per Jeff Gluck of The Athletic, there appeared to be a difference in opinion as to who was to blame for the crash:
Thursday's Bluegreen Vacations Duel will determine the starting lineup for the Great American Race. Following the crash during Sunday's Busch Clash, expect tensions to be heightened.