NASCAR divides qualifying for the Daytona 500 into two parts: pole qualifying and two 150-mile races. Those two races are better known as the Duels at Daytona, and in 2021 they’ll take place Thursday, Feb. 11, at Daytona International Speedway. The green flag for the first race will drop sometime after 7 p.m. ET. The second race will begin sometime after 8:45 p.m. ET.
The Duels determine starting positions 3-40 for the Daytona 500, but they also serve an important competitive function: They decide which teams will occupy the two remaining open spots in the 40-car field. Eight teams are competing for four open spots in this year’s race; 36 spots were set aside for Cup Series teams that have charter agreements with NASCAR.
Ryan Preece (JTG Daugherty Racing) and David Ragan (Front Row Motorsports) claimed the first two open positions with their qualifying speeds Wednesday night. That leaves Austin Cindric (Team Penske), Ty Dillon (Gaunt Brothers Racing), Noah Gragson (Beard Motorsports), Kaz Grala (Kaulig Racing), Timmy Hill (Motorsports Business Management) and Garrett Smithley (Motorsports Business Management) needing to race their way into the last two open spots Thursday.
Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman (pole) and William Byron (second) are on the front row for Sunday’s race after their one-lap qualifying runs Wednesday night. They will lead the field in their respective Duel races.
Below is all you need to know about Thursday’s Bluegreen Vacations Duel races at Daytona, including the start times, TV info and starting lineups.
Daytona Duels 2021 start times
The lineup for Duel 1 consists mainly of the drivers who finished in odd-numbered spots in pole qualifying. That means pole sitter Alex Bowman will be on the front row for his Duel race, along with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (third in qualifying).
The lineup for Duel 2 consists mainly of the drivers who finished in even-numbered spots in pole qualifying. That means second-place qualifier William Byron will lead the field for his Duel race along with Bubba Wallace (fourth in qualifying).
Daytona Duels 2021 TV channel
The 2021 Speedweeks marks the start of Fox’s 21st season covering NASCAR and the network’s 18th year covering the Daytona 500. Mike Joy (play-by-play), Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer and Larry McReynolds (analysts) will provide booth and studio coverage of the Duels. Jamie Little and Regan Smith will be the pit reporters.
Canada’s TSN will air the Duels live, as well.
The radio broadcast of the 2021 Duels at Daytona can be heard on the Motor Racing Network (MRN) or SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Daytona Duels 2021 starting lineups
The starting lineups for Thursday’s Duels were set by Wednesday’s pole qualifying speeds, with the drivers who qualified in odd-numbered positions competing in Duel 1 and the drivers who qualified in even-numbered positions competing in Duel 2.
Below are the starting lineups for Thursday night’s Duels at Daytona.
Daytona 2021 TV schedule
Below is the TV schedule for what’s left of Daytona Speedweeks in 2021, including the Duels, Daytona 500 Series practice sessions and Truck, Xfinity and ARCA series events, all leading up to Sunday’s Daytona 500.
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