- The 58th annual Daytona 500 is Sunday
- Daytona 500 is the first race of the NASCAR racing season
Here are nine things to know before the race begins:
1. What is the Daytona 500?
The Daytona 500, also called the "Great American Race," is a 200-lap and 500-mile-long race that kicks off the NASCAR season.
2. Where is it held?
The name is a big giveaway. The motor race is held annually at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. The track is two-and-a-half miles long.
3. How do you qualify for the race?
There are multiple chances for drivers to qualify for the Daytona 500. Drivers can race in the Daytona Coors Light Pole Qualifying, in which teams run two consecutive laps with the faster lap used as the qualifying time, or the Duel at Daytona, two 150-mile qualifying races.
The two fastest qualifiers in the Daytona 500 Coors Light Pole Qualifying race earn starting positions 1 and 2. These are the only guaranteed positions and file the front row for the season-opening race. The Duel at Daytona determines the starting positions other than the front row. A total of 40 drivers will race in the Daytona 500 this year, instead of the previous 43, and the winner will be awarded 40 points.
4. When was the race first?
The first Daytona 500 took place on February 22, 1959, when Lee Petty beat Johnny Beauchamp in a photo finish. However, it has been the season-opening race only since 1982.
5. How fast do these drivers race?
Most drivers who competed last year sped around 189 mph. Buddy Baker holds the record from 1980 for the fastest average winning speed at 177.602 mph. Junior Johnson won with the slowest average speed, 124.740 mph in 1960.
6. Has anyone won multiple Daytona 500 titles?
Yes. Richard Petty holds the record for the most victories with seven Daytona 500 titles. Last year's winner, Joey Logano, will try to become the 12th driver to win more than one.
7. What do drivers win if their car finishes first?
The winning driver of the Daytona 500 takes home a replica of the Harley J. Earl Trophy. This coveted award is hand-sculpted every year in Omaha, Nebraska, by John Lajba. Winning the race also comes with a cash prize. Last year, Logano and Team Penske won more than $1.5 million for their first-place finish.
8. How many people watch the Daytona 500?
The average TV audience is 20 million. NASCAR stopped releasing its attendance numbers as of 2012. The last attendance record, however, was around 140,000.
9. How can I watch the race?
You can watch the Daytona 500 on Fox at 1 p.m. ET Sunday. You can also experience a live virtual reality broadcast with the NextVR app.