NASCAR at Daytona Road Course 2021: Odds, TV Schedule, Live Stream and DriversFebruary 20, 2021
On Valentine's Day, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season got off to a surprising start. During the final lap of the Daytona 500, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski wrecked while racing for the lead, allowing Michael McDowell to secure his first career victory in his 358th career Cup Series start.
On Sunday, the Cup Series drivers are again at Daytona International Speedway for the second race of 2021. However, the 40-car field will be battling it out on the track's road course in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 253.
The race will be the first of seven to take place on road courses in 2021, the most the Cup Series has had in a single season. It's only the second time that the Cup Series is racing on the Daytona road course, and it's coming six months after the first. Chase Elliott, who is starting on the pole Sunday, won that race.
Here's everything else you need to know heading into Sunday's race.
NASCAR at Daytona Road Course Information
Date: Sunday, Feb. 21
Start Time: 3 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Fox Sports app
Bob Pockrass @bobpockrass
Scott Heckert now in the Live Fast Motorsports car for Cup race Sunday. NASCAR re-did the lineup as McLeod was supposed to start 19th and now Heckert listed as 28th. Will check to see if Heckert has to drop to the rear but since NASCAR changed the lineup already maybe he won’t. https://t.co/DNPLxo2ikf
Top Odds to Win
Chase Elliott: +200 (bet $100 to win $200)
Martin Truex Jr.: +450
Ryan Blaney: +1000
Denny Hamlin: +1000
Kyle Busch: +1400
A.J. Allmendinger: +1600
Kevin Harvick: +1600
Joey Logano: +1800
Brad Keselowski: +2000
William Byron: +2200
Kyle Larson: +2500
Alex Bowman: +3000
Kurt Busch: +3300
Chase Briscoe: +4000
Michael McDowell: +5000
Complete list of odds available at Motorsports" target="_blank">DraftKings.
The coming Cup Series race at the Daytona road course is a reminder of the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the schedule. Originally, Homestead-Miami was set to host the second race of the season, but that event is now taking place Feb. 28.
Auto Club Speedway was supposed to host the third race of 2021, but it's no longer featured on this season's schedule, which allowed for the Daytona road course to move into this slot.
This is also the first race of the season that didn't have qualifying. Only eight races on the 2021 schedule are set to hold practice and qualifying, with NASCAR adopting this non-qualifying format because of COVID-19 protocols last year. Instead, the starting order is determined by a formula, which is detailed at NASCAR.com.
That led to Chase Elliott, the defending Cup Series champion, earning the pole for Sunday's race. He got off to a strong start in 2021, finishing second in the Daytona 500, and he'll look to notch his second win at the Daytona road course after winning last season's inaugural event.
Elliott has 11 career Cup Series wins, five of which have come on road courses. His first career victory came at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 5, 2018. He also finished second in this year's Busch Clash, which was held at the Daytona road course for the first time in the event's history.
"Road courses have been good to us the past few trips, but that doesn't mean it's going to go good every time," Elliott said, per Holly Cain of NASCAR.com. "There has not been one part of me that watched the schedule change, saw seven road courses and thought, 'Yeah, we've got it now.' That's just not how I am. At the end of the day, you have to be good everywhere and I want to be good everywhere."
Still, Elliott has dominated these tracks of late, winning the past four Cup Series points races to be held at road courses (the last being in last year's playoffs at Charlotte Roval on Oct. 11).
McDowell, looking to carry over the momentum from his improbable Daytona 500 victory to open the season, will join Elliott on the front row. Although he has mostly struggled on road courses in his Cup Series career, he finished 10th at the Daytona road course in August, marking his best career Cup Series finish in a road race.
"Even without the Daytona 500 win, we would still feel confident coming back this weekend," McDowell said, per Cain. "We have really worked hard on our road-course program this offseason and we are getting better. It's another good opportunity for us."
Another driver to watch is Kyle Busch, who won the Busch Clash by leading only the final lap. As Elliott and Ryan Blaney wrecked while racing for the lead, Busch capitalized and raced to victory. He owns four wins in Cup Series points races at road courses, but his most recent one came at Sonoma Raceway in 2015.
Martin Truex Jr. could also be poised for a strong showing Sunday, as he's finished in the top 10 in 10 of the past 12 Cup Series points races at road courses, a stretch that includes three wins. He finished third at the Daytona road course in August.
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