For the second time in his career, Alex Bowman will lead the field when the green flag waves Sunday to start the 63rd running of the Daytona 500, the most prestigious event in NASCAR and the beginning of the 2021 racing season.
Whether he can maintain that lead following engine issues Thursday in the Bluegreen Vacations Duel remains to be seen.
"We talked through engine diagnostics and sent some guys over pit wall who don't normally go over the wall," crew chief Greg Ives told NASCAR.com's Alejandro Alvarez. "There were a lot of things you always think you are going to be prepared for until you actually go through them. I feel like we did a good job understanding it and hopefully we are able to diagnose it and make sure everything is good."
It is a season that welcomes a new team owned by Michael Jordan and, potentially, waves goodbye to a former series champion.
Here is how you can watch the race, and these are the stories to keep an eye on Sunday afternoon.
Date: Sunday, February 14
Start Time: 2:30 p.m.
How to Watch: Fox or Fox Deportes (TV); Fox Sports app (streaming)
MJ's 1st Dance...
Michael Jordan makes his NASCAR debut Sunday as co-owner of the 23XI racing team with Denny Hamlin and driver Bubba Wallace.
When asked about his foray into racing, Jordan told Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports, "My biggest conversation to Denny was I don't want to...just go around and around and around and finish 18th, 19th, 20th, 30th. I want to win. I want to be put in the position for the best chance for us to win. That's my competitive nature."
The partnership between Jordan and Hamlin began way back in 2011, when the racer first sported the Jumpman logo on his fire suit. Since then, the athletes have forged a friendship that became a business relationship.
The racing team has provided talented driver Wallace with all of the tools necessary to succeed and "shut up some of his haters," as he told Shannon Sharpe on Club Shay Shay.
He will start sixth in Sunday's race.
...And Kurt Busch's Last?
Kurt Busch and sponsor Monster left fans guessing about the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series champion's future when it dropped nine-minute movie Shifting Gears on YouTube recently.
Heavily centered on the possibility that 2021 will mark Busch's final year behind the wheel, it stops just short of an official announcement.
So why bother?
To drum up interest for the season, possibly? To introduce a new story or create intrigue in one of the seasoned veterans of the Cup Series, maybe? An overabundance of money, hence cameos from Rob Gronkowski and Vanilla Ice, perhaps?
Maybe it is simply to prepare fans for the possibility that Busch, long one of the constants of the NASCAR world, will be moving on at the conclusion of the year.
Busch enters the 2021 season with 32 career wins and the aforementioned 2004 title to his name. He starts Sunday's race at the No. 20 position.