John Raoux/Connected Press
Denny Hamlin has a chance to construct NASCAR history Sunday afternoon at Daytona Global Speedway as the 2021 Cup Sequence season gets underway.
No driver has ever obtained three consecutive Daytona 500 races, but that can also rapidly trade, as Hamlin will witness to follow up wins in 2019 and 2020 with victory at this year’s model of the Substantial American Flee.
Remaining year, Hamlin used to be victorious despite initiating 39th. This time, he’ll witness to pressure his No. 11 Toyota up by the discipline from his initiating position in 25th.
Even supposing Hamlin will be a success in doing so, he’ll face some actual competitors in the 40-automobile discipline.
Here is every little thing it’s most realistic to know heading into Sunday’s walk.
Daytona 500 Files
Date: Sunday, Feb. 14
Originate Time: 2: 30 p.m. ET
Dwell Stream: Fox Sports app
Most trendy Flee Buzz
Hendrick Motorsports had a noteworthy showing for the length of Wednesday’s qualifying session. Alex Bowman earned the pole position for the Daytona 500 for the 2nd time in four years, marking the sixth time in seven seasons that a Hendrick driver qualified first for the walk. It moreover ended up being an all-Hendrick entrance row, with William Byron qualifying 2nd.
On the opposite hand, that used to be no longer the case a day later, as Hendrick Motorsports’ fortunes modified on Thursday evening.
With four laps to head in the 2nd of two Bluegreen Vacations Duel qualifying races, Byron obtained caught up in a ruin that can force him to head to a backup automobile for the Daytona 500. And that moreover plot the motive force of the No. 24 Chevrolet will must transfer to the support of the discipline earlier to the initiating of the walk, giving up his No. 2 initiating position.
“Bummer,” Byron mentioned, primarily based fully mostly on Jenna Fryer of the Connected Press. “Man the object used to be like a flash.”
Even supposing Byron is now not any longer going to be on the entrance row for the Daytona 500 for the 2nd time in three seasons, the 23-year-earlier can also aloof potentially work his means support up by the discipline. Since 2007, there believe been four drivers to receive the Substantial American Flee despite initiating 32nd or worse, including Hamlin, who started 39th after having to transfer to the support of the discipline final year.
Thursday wasn’t a noteworthy evening for Bowman, both. Now utilizing the No. 48 Chevrolet following the retirement of seven-time Cup Sequence champion Jimmie Johnson, Bowman skilled an engine subject that led to him to construct loads of journeys to pit row for the length of the first Duels walk.
It did now not topic that Bowman ended up finishing 20th in that Duels walk, as he had already locked in his initiating position by earning the pole. On the opposite hand, if the engine finally ends up desirous to be modified, then Bowman would must transfer to the support of the discipline Sunday.
Bowman expressed that he believes that can also no longer happen and that the engine is “fully gleaming.”
“We lawful believe one thing going on that is shaking the auto, so we lawful must resolve that out,” Bowman mentioned, per Zack Albert of NASCAR.com.
Normal crew chief Chad Knaus, who is getting into his first season as Hendrick Motorsports’ vp of competitors, moreover expressed optimism, but he did now not rule out the capability for that to trade.
“We assume the engine’s OK, but it no doubt’s undecided lawful yet,” Knaus mentioned, per Albert. ” … We now believe obtained two practice sessions [Saturday], so we are going to take a detect within it [Friday] with the borescope and mediate if we mediate any complications fancy a scored piston or one thing irregular fancy that. But when we possess no longer mediate any complications, we are going to toddle out and practice and construct a resolution [Saturday].”
If Bowman finally ends up having to transfer to the support of the discipline, then the No. 1 initiating position would toddle to Aric Almirola, who dominated the first Duels walk by leading 52 of the 60 laps and holding on for the victory. He’s currently initiating third in Sunday’s walk.
On story of Byron is engaging to the support, Austin Dillon is engaging as much as the entrance row after he obtained the 2nd Duels walk, which earned him the No. 4 initiating position. But he’ll transfer up a row thanks to Byron desirous to head to a backup automobile.
Dillon, who obtained the Daytona 500 in 2018, notched the victory in the 2nd Duels walk by passing Bubba Wallace on the final lap. It may perhaps perhaps no longer be surprising to mediate Dillon and Wallace preserve procedure the entrance of the discipline Sunday, as both believe gotten off to actual starts this week.
Even though Bowman and Byron had some grief Thursday, Hendrick Motorsports won’t no longer as much as believe its loads of two drivers initiating procedure the entrance of the discipline. Dart Elliott, final year’s Cup Sequence champion, earned the No. 12 initiating position (and is assured to transfer as much as 10th), whereas Kyle Larson (getting into his first season with Hendrick) will initiating 13th.