2023 Daytona 500 Preview

The Daytona 500 starts on Sunday, Feb. 19.

Lane Mayo, Staff Writer

Over three months of anticipation for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season comes to an end this weekend as NASCAR takes center stage this Sunday at Daytona International Speedway for the 65th annual running of the Daytona 500.

  Forty of the world’s greatest stock car drivers gather in Daytona Beach, Florida, with only a single goal in mind: to etch their names into the history books as Daytona 500 champions.

  Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman and Kyle Larson share the front row of the Daytona 500 for the second year running. Bowman scored his third pole award, paired alongside his sixth consecutive front-row starting spot, the most by any driver in NASCAR history for this event.

  Six drivers in this year’s field have already engraved their names onto the Harley J. Earl Trophy, with seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has done so twice in his career (2006 and 2013). Johnson is making his first start in the series this weekend since his departure from full-time NASCAR Cup competition back in 2020.

  Denny Hamlin, a three-time winner of this event, looks to become only the third driver in NASCAR history to amass four-plus Daytona 500 victories with only Richard Petty (7) and Cale Yarborough (4) having won more. 

  Team Penske looks to repeat its success from last year with defending Daytona 500 winner Austin Cindric and 2022 Cup Series Champion Joey Logano leading the charge. Alongside defending NASCAR All-Star winner Ryan Blaney, this trio of drivers look to be the team to beat once again.

  The 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Ty Gibbs has made the jump up to the Cup Series for the 2023 season, piloting the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in his rookie campaign. Championship runner-up Noah Gragson has followed suit as he is set to compete in the No. 42 Chevrolet for Legacy Motor Club (formerly known as Petty GMS), the team co-owned by both “The King” Richard Petty and the aforementioned Jimmie Johnson. 

  Newly acquired Richard Childress Racing driver Kyle Busch is still in search of his first Daytona 500 victory, the only crowning achievement over his illustrious career he has yet to capture.

  Among the series regulars in the field, there are a couple of new faces making their first Cup Series starts at the high-banked 2½ mile track, with Riley Herbst and X-Games icon Travis Pastrana both qualifying into the field for the event.

  To catch all the action of this year’s Great American Race, tune in this Sunday, Feb. 19, at 1:30 p.m. CST on FOX. Pre-race coverage of the event kicks off at 12:00 p.m. CST.

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