The 2023 NASCAR season is right around the corner. In fact, it begins this weekend at the Daytona International Speedway. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the 65th edition of Speedweeks.
Wednesday, Feb. 15
8:15 pm: Cup Series Qualifying (single vehicle, 1 lap, 2 rounds FS1
Thursday, Feb. 16
4:05-4:55 pm: ARCA Practice No TV
5:05-5:55 pm: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Practice FS1
6:35 pm: Duels Driver Intros
7 pm: 1st Race of the Duels in Daytona (60 Laps, 150 Miles) FS1
Approx. 8:45 pm: 2nd Race of the Duels in Daytona (60 Laps, 150 Miles) FS1
Friday, Feb. 17
1:30 pm: ARCA Quals (Impound, Groups)
3 pm: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Quals (Single Vehicle, 1 Laps, 2 Rounds) FS1
4:35-5:25 pm: NASCAR Xfinity Series Practice FS1
5:35-6:25 pm: NASCAR Cup Series Practice FS1
6:55 pm: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Driver Intros
7:30 pm: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Race (100 Laps, 250 Miles – Stage Lengths: 20-20-60) FS1
Saturday, Feb. 18
10:30-11:20 am: NASCAR Cup Series Final Practice FS1
11:30 am: NASCAR Xfinity Series Qualifying (Impound, single vehicle, 1 lap, 2 rounds) FS1
1:10 pm: ARCA Driver Intros
1:30 pm: ARCA Race (80 Laps, 200 Miles) FS1
4:35 pm: NASCAR Xfinity Series Driver Intros
5 pm: NASCAR Xfinity Series Race (120 Laps, 300 Miles – Stage Lengths: 30-30-60) FS1
Sunday, Feb. 19
1:15 pm: Concert (Dierks Bentley)
2:15 pm: Driver Intros
2:30 pm: Daytona 500 (200 Laps, 500 Miles – Stage Lengths: 65/65/70) FOX
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Daytona 500 Entry-List
36 know they’re guaranteed spots. 6 more will try to take one of the 4 spots left. The top 2 open cars in next Wednesday night’s qualifying will take spots 37 and 38 while the top two open finishers not locked in on speed will take the final two spots (39-40).
The 6 drivers hoping to race their ways in are Jimmie Johnson, Zane Smith, Chandler Smith, Travis Pastrana, Austin Hill and Daly.
2023 Charters (Guaranteed Spots)
- Hendrick Motorsports (4) – Kyle Larson (No. 5), Chase Elliott (No. 9), William Byron (No. 24) and Alex Bowman (No. 48)
- Trackhouse Racing (2) – Ross Chastain (No. 1) and Daniel Suarez (No. 99)
- Richard Childress Racing (2) – Austin Dillon (No. 3), Kyle Busch (No. 8)
- Legacy Motor Club (2) – Noah Gragson (No. 42), Erik Jones (No. 43)
- Kaulig Racing (2) – AJ Allmendinger (No. 16), Justin Haley (No. 31)
- Spire Motorsports (2) – Corey LaJoie (No. 7), Ty Dillon (No. 77)
- JTG Daugherty Racing (1) – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 47)
- Live Fast Motorsports (1) – BJ McLeod (No. 78)
- Stewart-Haas Racing (4) – Kevin Harvick (No. 4), Aric Almirola (No. 10), Chase Briscoe (No. 14), Ryan Preece (No. 41).
- Team Penske (3) – Austin Cindric (No. 2), Ryan Blaney (No. 12), Joey Logano (No. 22).
- RFK Racing (2) – Brad Keselowksi (No. 6), Chris Buescher (No. 17)
- Rick Ware Racing (2) – Riley Herbst (No. 15), Cody Ware (No. 51)
- Front Row Motorsports (2) – Michael McDowell (No. 34), Todd Gilliland (No. 38)
- Wood Brothers (1) – Harrison Burton is back in 2023.
- Joe Gibbs Racing (4) – Denny Hamlin (No. 11), Martin Truex Jr. (No. 19), Christopher Bell (No. 20), Ty Gibbs R (No. 54)
- 23XI Racing (2) – Bubba Wallace (No. 23), Tyler Reddick (No. 45)
Open Cars (6)
- Front Row Motorsports (1) – Zane Smith R (No. 36)
- Beard Motorsports (1) – Austin Hill R (No. 62)
- Legacy Motor Club (1) – Jimmie Johnson (No. 84)
- 23XI Racing (1) – Travis Pastrana (No. 67)
- Kaulig Racing (1) – Chandler Smith (No. 13)
- The Money Team (1) – Conor Daly (No. 50)
Right now, 42 Trucks are on the entry-list for 36 spots. That would send 6 home. The Truck Series practices on Thursday (5:05 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN), qualifies on Friday afternoon (3 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN) and races on Friday night (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN).
The last three race winners are on the entry-list, so are Daytona 500 drivers Chase Elliott, Corey LaJoie, Zane Smith and Travis Pastrana.
In total 20 different drivers have won a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway, led by Johnny Sauter with three victories (2013, 2016, 2018). Just four former series Daytona winners are entered this weekend – Sauter (three wins), Grant Enfinger (2020), Ben Rhodes (2021) and Zane Smith (2022) each have one. The youngest Camping World Truck Series race winner at Daytona is Kaz Grala (02/24/2017 – 18 years, 1 months, 26 days) and the oldest is Joe Ruttman (02/16/2001 – 56 years, 3 months, 19 days).
Six different NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers scored their first series career win at Daytona – Austin Hill (2019), Kaz Grala (2017), Tyler Reddick (2015), John King (2012), Michael Waltrip (2011), Robert Pressley (2002).
- We’ve seen 6 straight years with a different winner – Kaz Grala, Johnny Sauter, Austin Hill, Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes and Zane Smith
- The season champion has won this race in each of the last two years.
- Todd Bodine is the only driver in series history to have won back-to-back at Daytona (2008-2009).
- Only 4 drivers in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history have won the pole award as well as the race at Daytona International Speedway. Joe Ruttman (2001), Mark Martin (2006), Jack Sprague (2007) and Kaz Grala (2017) are it.
- 13 of the 23 year history of this race has seen the winner come from a top 10 starting spot. In fact, only eight times has someone started outside of Row 7 on back including Rhodes’ win in 2021 from the 23rd starting position and Zane Smith (20th) last year.
- 2 of the last 4 years have seen at least 10 cautions.
- The last 4 years have gone into overtime.
- Margins of victory: 2022 (Under Caution), 2021 (.036), 2020 (.010), 2019 (.278), 2018 (.098), 2017/2016 (under caution)
- Time of the races: The last five have all been over 2-hours in length – 2022 (2:03:07), 2021 (2:20:33), 2020 (2:04:53), 2019 (2:39:20), 2018 (2:04:36). 2017 and 2016 were under two hours.
This race has some major changes between last year and this in terms of driver/manufacturer lineups. Kyle Busch Motorsports goes from the flagship Toyota team to the top team in the Chevrolet camp. In turn, TRICON Garage elevates up to take KBM’s equipment with Toyota while ThorSport also left Toyota to become the top team at Ford.
42 cars for 38 spots on the entry-list right now. In a series where “Names are Made Here” there’s an opening for new names to be made in 2023. 3 of the top 5 in the final standings a year ago are each up in the Cup Series. The only two back are in the JRM camp with Justin Allgaier and Josh Berry.
Austin Hill also returns to RCR as does his teammate Sheldon Creed. 7th and 8th in last year’s points, Sam Mayer and Brandon Jones, are each back with Jones moving from JGR over to JRM. That’s 4 of the top 5 drivers left from last year that are returning belonging to the JRM camp. This organization has won 3 of the last 5 Speedweeks races in the Xfinity Series by 3 different drivers (Tyler Reddick, Michael Annett, Noah Gragson).
Can Kaulig Pick Up February win?
What we’re witnessing out of Kaulig Racing hasn’t been seen since DEI’s plate success in the early 2000s. The 2021 summer race win for Kaulig was their sixth in the last eight speedway races including 2-for-3 during that season. In fact, that was their fourth win in the last five races at either Daytona or Talladega.
They went 1-2-3 in both stages in that August race and nearly went 1-2-3 in the end with being 1-2-4 instead. Also, they led 43 of the 100 laps run as well.
Kaulig Racing enters this year’s February race with 3 cars in the field. They’re 0 for their last 6 after being 5-for-7 prior. However, none of those 5 were Speedweeks wins.
Daytona in July – Ross Chastain (Kaulig)
Daytona – Noah Gragson (JRM)
Talladega- Justin Haley (Kaulig)
Daytona – Justin Haley (Kaulig)
Daytona – Austin Cindric (Penske)
Talladega – Jeb Burton (Kaulig)
Daytona – Justin Haley (Daytona)
Talladega – Brandon Brown (Brandonbuilt)
Daytona – Austin Hill (RCR)
Atlanta – Ty Gibbs (JGR)
Talladega – Noah Gragson (JRM)
Atlanta – Austin Hill (RCR)
Daytona – Jeremy Clements (JCR)
Stealing Wins: Late race passes happen at Daytona
Unpredictability. That’s what comes to mind when you think of the finishes at Daytona International Speedway, especially as of late in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Last-lap passes for the win have happened in the closing laps of the last eight season-opening races at Daytona; including three on the last lap:
2014: Regan Smith passed Brad Keselowski on the last lap to win by just 0.013 second.
2015: Ryan Reed passed Brad Keselowski on the last lap to win by just 0.089 second.
2016: Chase Elliott passed Joey Logano and led the last 14 laps to win by a scant 0.043 second.
2017: Ryan Reed passed Brad Keselowski with two laps to go to take the checkered flag and the victory by a mere 0.218 second.
2018: Tyler Reddick took the lead with what turned out to be 11 laps to go in NASCAR Overtime and then held off the field for two more overtime restarts (for five total overtime restarts in the race) to win the closest race in NASCAR history (0.0004 second).
2019: Michael Annett took the lead on the final restart with 45 laps to go and held off several hard chargers to win his first NASCAR Xfinity Series career race by 0.116 seconds over Justin Allgaier.
2020: Noah Gragson passed Chase Briscoe on Lap 118 of the 120 Lap event to win his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series race. There was a big crash on the backstretch of the final lap which froze the field and didn’t allow for a race to the checkered.
2021: Team Penske had zero NASCAR Xfinity Series wins on the Daytona International Speedway oval before last February. In fact, six times had they been passed on the last lap here. Not last year. Austin Cindric had a great restart in overtime and bested Brett Moffitt by just .104-seconds in his No. 22 Ford.
2022: Hill passes Allmendinger just before we went caution to signify the end.
Ever since the inception of electronic scoring in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 1996, close finishes of less than a second have been the norm at Daytona International Speedway.
Since 1996, the Xfinity Series has competed at Daytona 45 times. 33 of the races ended under green and all 33 finished with a margin of victory of less than a second; including the closest finish in NASCAR national series history (0.0004 second) in the 2018 Xfinity season opener.
Below are the last seven margins of victory in the season-opening race at Daytona when they crossed the finish line under green flag conditions. Last year’s was under caution.
|Margin of Victory||Race Winner||Runner-Up||Date|
|February 13, 2021|
February 15, 2020
February 16, 2019
|0.0004||Tyler Reddick||Elliott Sadler||February 17, 2018|
|0.2180||Ryan Reed||Kasey Kahne||February 25, 2017|
|0.0430||Chase Elliott||Joey Logano||February 20, 2016|
|0.0890||Ryan Reed||Chris Buescher||February 21, 2015|
Daytona International Speedway: Quick Stats
Below are quick stats for the NASCAR Xfinity Series heading into the Beef. Its What’s for Dinner. 300 (5 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
- Daytona International Speedway has hosted 62 NASCAR Xfinity Series races.
- 36 different drivers have won at Daytona International Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, led by Dale Earnhardt and Tony Stewart with seven wins each.
- Since 2012, we’ve had 10 different winners in the last 11 years of this event. Only Ryan Reed (2015, 2017) has reached Gatorade Victory Lane multiple times in that span.
- Also since 2012, five of the 10 years we’ve seen a first time winner in the series. James Buescher (2012), Reed (2015), Annett (2019), Gragson (2020) and Hill (2022) have each earned their first career NXS wins in this Daytona event. As you can see, it’s happened four of the last eight years including three of the last four in general.
- Only four drivers have ever won their first career Daytona start.
- Only five races in history have been won from the pole or first starting position (2002, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2021).
- Each of the last 12 races were won by a starter in the top 6 rows including 6 of which from a top 4 starting position.
- Toyota hasn’t won the season opening race since 2008 (Tony Stewart). They also haven’t won an NXS race at Daytona since Matt Kenseth (2013). Combined, Toyota has won just four times overall in NXS competition at Daytona.
- Only 10 drivers have ever won this NXS season opener and the Daytona 500. Bobby Allison, Geoff Bodine, Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Tiny Lund, Marvin Panch, David Pearson, Darrell Waltrip and LeeRoy Yarbrough is the list.
- Geoff Bodine still holds onto the race record from 1985 at 157.137 mph.
- Qualifying Record – Tommy Houston (194.389 mph, 2/14/1987)
- All-time Lap Leader – Dale Earnhardt Jr., 560 Laps Led
- Single Race Laps Led Record – Joe Nemechek, 105 Laps Led (2/14/1998)
41 cars are on the entry-list with one going home. That’s the most cars in February here since 42 teams entered the 2017 race.
The entry list is headlined by championship contenders Jesse Love, a two-time ARCA Menards Seres West champion who will be driving for Venturini Motorsports, Indiana’s Greg Van Alst and West Virginia’s Christian Rose. Love will be joined at Venturini Motorsports by former Talladega winner Gus Dean, and two fast females, Toni Breidinger and Amber Balcaen, who finished 1-2 in the series’ annual pre-season pre-race practice at Daytona in January.
Connor Mosack will make his first Daytona start driving the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, the team that won the ARCA Menards Series owner’s championship in 2021 and 2022, first with Ty Gibbs at the wheel and last year with a combination of Drew Dollar and two-time ARCA Menards Seres East champion Sammy Smith driving. Mosack will run six races for the team, while William Sawalich, who isn’t eligible to compete on superspeedways until he turns 18, will run the rest as the team looks to score its third straight owner’s title.
Hollywood A-lister Frankie Muniz is also entered, driving a Ford Mustang for Rette Jones Racing. Muniz, the star of beloved sitcom Malcolm in the Middle and a former runner-up on Dancing with the Stars, will be making his series debut driving for the team that has finished in the top three at Daytona twice in recent years, second in 2017 with team co-owner Terry Jones at the wheel and third in 2019 with Canadian Grant Quinlan driving.
New York’s Andy Jankowiak is entered fresh off a preliminary night win his three-quarter midget at the Gambler’s Classic, held indoors in the legendary Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Jankowiak finished sixth at Daytona last year, recovering from a mid-race spin and crash to score his best career series finish.
Other notables on the entry list include former Daytona runner-up Willie Mullins and Brayton Laster for Mullins Racing, Sean Corr in his family-owned No. 8 Chevrolet, Jack Wood and Lavar Scott in a pair of potent Chevrolets for Rev Racing, Illinois veteran Tim Richmond, who nearly pulled off an upset top-five finish last year before running out of fuel with just a couple of laps remaining, and the four-car Fast Track High Performance Racing entry for 1995 series champion Andy Hillenburg, with drivers Ed Pompa, Bryce Haugeberg, Zach Herrin and Jon Garrett.
The 60th annual Daytona 200 at Daytona International Speedway is set for Saturday, Feb. 18. The race will be televised live flag-to-flag on FS1 starting at 1:30 pm ET. The race will also be broadcast on select affiliates of the MRN Radio network nationwide.
Venturini Motorsports has won five consecutive ARCA season openers at Daytona.