2021 NASCAR Cup Series Begins Sunday with Daytona 500

The field of NASCAR Cup Series cars coming to the start of the 2020 Daytona 500.
The field of NASCAR Cup Series cars coming to the start of the 2020 Daytona 500. (Photo credit: YouTube)

The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season will officially begin with the first points race of the year … the Daytona 500!

The Great American Race (as it is also called) is the “super bowl” of NASCAR racing. Unlike football, this one starts the season instead of ending it. If you were to ask most any driver what one race they would want to win (if they were only able to win one race in their career), it would likely be the Daytona 500.

Here is the basic data about the Daytona International Speedway and the Daytona 500.

Daytona International Speedway Data
Race #: 1 of 36 (2-14-21)
Track Size: 2.5 miles
Banking/Corners: 31 degrees
Banking/Straights: 3 degrees
Banking/Tri-Oval: 18 degrees

Daytona 500 Data
Total Race Length: 500 miles (200 laps)
Stage 1 Length: 162.5 miles (65 laps)
Stage 2 Length: 162.5 miles (65 laps)
Final Stage Length: 175 miles (70 laps)

Winning the Daytona 500 is a major career milestone. Winning multiple Daytona 500s means you are leaving a definite mark on the history of NASCAR. Denny Hamlin has won the Great American Race a total of three times in his career. He won last year’s race making himself one of just four drivers to win the Daytona 500 in back-to-back seasons (Richard Petty 1973 & 1974, Cale Yarborough 1983 & 1984, Sterling Marlin 1994 & 1995). If Denny can make it three years in a row he will stand alone in that accomplishment.

Of course the other drivers will be doing everything they can to win and prevent Denny from achieving that career milestone. Here are the top active drivers at Daytona International Speedway in the Cup Series.

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Daytona
Kyle Busch – 91.1
Denny Hamlin – 88.7
Joey Logano – 87.5
Ryan Blaney – 87.4
Kurt Busch – 86.6
William Byron – 83.4
Kevin Harvick – 81.9
Brad Keselowski – 78.5
Jamie McMurray – 78.1
Alex Bowman – 78.0
Note: Driver Ratings are compiled from 2005-2020 races (32 total) at Daytona International Speedway (active drivers only).

Who do you think will win the 2021 Daytona 500?

By: Buck Stevens