The Daytona 500 will kick-start a new season of NASCAR Cup Series racing in 2020, with some of the world's best drivers seeking to secure a win at this iconic circuit Sunday.
The clash at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida will be the trigger for a jam-packed year of NASCAR battles, with 26 races to come in the regular season.
Getting into the Cup Series Playoffs won't be on the minds of the drivers yet, with crossing the line first and taking the chequered flag this weekend their primary concern. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will lead the drivers off, having qualified for pole position earlier in the week.
Here are the key details for Sunday's race and a look at some of the most intriguing storylines ahead of the new season.
Venue: Daytona International Speedway, Florida
Date: Sunday, February 16
Race Start Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
The Daytona International Speedway Twitter account provided a preview of what can be expected come race day:
Stenhouse Jr. performed brilliantly in his new Chevrolet Camaro last Sunday, taking the top spot with a fastest lap of 194.582 mph:
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. @StenhouseJr
Pretty special day yesterday for me and my whole @JTGRacing team. It was a all hands on deck team effort to build the speed into these cars and I’m thankful it worked out to grab the pole for the #greatamericanrace #daytona #daytona500 #shapedlikeabullet https://t.co/EHpOOzmThg
Alex Bowman will join him on the front row, and there is a clutch of high-class drivers behind them. 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano is third following his strong display in the first Bluegreen Vacations Duel, while William Byron won the second and starts fourth.
With Erik Jones winning the exhibition Busch Clash, at the moment there's no standout favourite for Sunday's showdown. It means the upcoming edition of The Great American Race should be a classic one.
One of the most intriguing storylines ahead of the contest is the edge between Logano and defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch; at the Busch Clash, the latter caused a crash that brought an end to Logano's race, as well as Brad Keselowski's:
Per Fox Sports' Bob Pockrass, afterwards Keselowski was fuming with his Joe Gibbs Racing team-mates:
Should that trio come side-to-side at any point in Sunday's race, it'll be fascinating to see if their natural race aggressiveness is tempered. They have ground to make up on Logano, though, with Keselowski starting in ninth and the defending champion well down in 28th.
Busch will be desperate to get into the mix for the top spots, as a strong performance at Daytona a year ago set up his title-winning season. He was the runner-up in the 2019 race; that was one of six podium finishes in the first eight races of the campaign, three of which were wins.
Per NASCAR's Nate Ryan, despite struggling in qualifying, the champion was still in a bullish mood ahead of the race:
Nate Ryan @nateryan
An insightful @KyleBusch availability closes with this gem. Kyle, who is the face of #nascar? “That’s not for me to answer. @chaseelliott is the most popular if that helps answer your question.” OK, who’s the best driver? (Without missing a beat.) “You’re looking at him.” https://t.co/oMDzLuOEag
Denny Hamlin was the winner of this event a year ago and will need to recover from 21st on the grid if he's to join the five men to have won the race on three or more occasions.
Martin Truex Jr. was the standout driver for much of the 2019 season, although he wasn't able to get the better of Busch at the sharp end of the campaign. His fight for a second Cup Series win will begin from 15th on Sunday.