NASCAR at Daytona: How to watch, TV schedule, entry list, favorites

The 2023 NASCAR regular season finale will be held Saturday night on NBC

Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

The NASCAR regular season is set to finish at the same place where it began six months ago.

Daytona International Speedway will play host to the finale, where 17 drivers are fighting for one final playoff spot. So while this race isn’t nearly as prestigious as the season-opening Daytona 500, the stakes for race No. 26 are even higher.

The 160-lap battle around the high-banked, 2.5-mile speedway will take place under the lights.

Here’s everything you need to know for the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona:

What is the NASCAR at Daytona entry list?

Thirty-nine drivers will race at Daytona. The 32 full-timers will all compete, plus seven others.

Five of those seven drivers are Xfinity Series regulars: Chandler Smith, Brennan Poole, Riley Herbst, Josh Berry and Austin Hill. The other two are part-time veterans J.J. Yeley and B.J. McLeod, who have both made at least 15 Cup starts this season.

Here’s the full entry list for Daytona (car numbers, driver names, team names and sponsors):

  • No. 1, Ross Chastain, Trackhouse Racing, Worldwide Express
  • No. 2, Austin Cindric, Team Penske, Menards
  • No. 3, Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing, BREZTRI
  • No. 4, Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Gearwrench
  • No. 5, Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports,
  • No. 6, Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing, King’s Hawaiian
  • No. 7, Corey LaJoie, Spire Motorsports, NEGU
  • No. 8, Kyle Busch, Richard Childress Racing, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
  • No. 9, Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Llumar
  • No. 10, Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, Smithfield
  • No. 11, Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, FedEx
  • No. 12, Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Advance Auto Parts
  • No. 13, Chandler Smith, Kaulig Racing, Quick Tie Products
  • No. 14, Chase Briscoe, Stewart-Haas Racing, Magical Vacation Planner
  • No. 15, Brennan Poole, Rick Ware Racing, Finance Pro Plus
  • No. 16, A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, Action Industries
  • No. 17, Chris Buescher, RFK Racing, Fifth Third Bank
  • No. 19, Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Bass Pro Shops
  • No. 20, Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Yahoo!
  • No. 21, Harrison Burton, Wood Brothers Racing, DEX Imaging
  • No. 22, Joey Logano, Team Penske, Shell/Pennzoil
  • No. 23, Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, Columbia Sportswear
  • No. 24, William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports,
  • No. 31, Justin Haley, Kaulig Racing, Celsius
  • No. 34, Michael McDowell, Front Row Motorsports, Fr8 Auctions
  • No. 36, Riley Herbst, Front Row Motorsports, Monster Energy
  • No. 38, Todd Gilliland, Front Row Motorsports, Boot Barn
  • No. 41, Ryan Preece, Stewart-Haas Racing,
  • No. 42, Josh Berry, Legacy Motor Club, Sunseeker Resort
  • No. 43, Erik Jones, Legacy Motor Club, Allegiant
  • No. 45, Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing, Monster Energy
  • No. 47, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., JTG Daugherty Racing, Kroger
  • No. 48, Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Ally Financial
  • No. 51, J.J. Yeley, Rick Ware Racing, Biohaven
  • No. 54, Ty Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, Monster Energy
  • No. 62, Austin Hill, Beard Motorsports, United Rentals
  • No. 77, Ty Dillon, Spire Motorsports, Gainbridge
  • No. 78, B.J. McLeod, Live Fast Motorsports, B’laster
  • No. 99, Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing, Freeway Insurance

When is the NASCAR race at Daytona in 2023?

The Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona is set for Saturday, Aug. 26, at 7 p.m. ET.

Before the race on Sunday, there will be a two-round qualifying session. Here’s how it works:

  • First round: Each of the 39 drivers will make a single lap around the track on their own, going out in order of the qualifying metric (found here).
  • The 10 fastest drivers advance to the second round. Starting positions 11 through 39 will be set based on speeds from the first round.
  • Second round: Each of the 10 drivers will make a single lap around the track on their own, going out in reverse order of first-round speeds (fastest driver from the first round goes out last). The top 10 starting positions are determined based on the best single-lap speed from the second round.

NASCAR TV schedule for Daytona this weekend

Friday, Aug. 25 (USA Network and streaming online)

  • Qualifying: 5 p.m. ET, USA Network,

Saturday, Aug. 26 (NBC, Peacock and streaming online)

NASCAR playoff standings entering Daytona

Fifteen of the 16 playoff spots have been filled entering the regular season finale. Drivers who have not yet clinched can join the playoff field by winning at Daytona, or by having the most total points among winless drivers.

These drivers are locked into the playoffs:

1. William Byron, 5 wins

2. Martin Truex Jr., 3 wins

3. Kyle Busch, 3 wins

4. Denny Hamlin, 2 wins

5. Kyle Larson, 2 wins

6. Chris Buescher, 2 wins

7. Ross Chastain, 1 win

8. Tyler Reddick, 1 win

9. Ryan Blaney, 1 win

10. Joey Logano, 1 win

11. Christopher Bell, 1 win

12. Michael McDowell, 1 win

13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 1 win

14. Brad Keselowski, 697 points

15. Kevin Harvick, 693 points

If one of those 15 drivers wins at Daytona, another driver will make the playoffs on points. These drivers are still fighting for that spot:

16. Bubba Wallace, 590 points (32 above the cutline)

17. Ty Gibbs, 558 points (32 below the cutline)

18. Daniel Suarez, 547 points (43 below cutline)

These drivers have to win at Daytona in order to make the playoffs, as they are too far behind Wallace to make up enough points in one race:

19. AJ Allmendinger

20. Alex Bowman

21. Chase Elliott

22. Austin Cindric

23. Justin Haley

24. Ryan Preece

25. Aric Almirola

26. Todd Gilliland

27. Corey LaJoie

28. Erik Jones

29. Austin Dillon

30. Harrison Burton

31. Chase Briscoe

32. Ty Dillon

You can find a full playoff picture breakdown right here.

NASCAR Daytona past winners, race history

Daytona is often a place for surprise winners to steal the spotlight – and especially in the summer race. Last year, Austin Dillon stole a playoff spot by winning the race after a massive crash.

Hamlin leads all active drivers with three wins at Daytona. The caveat? He’s never won in the summer, with all three victories coming in the Daytona 500. Stenhouse (2023 Daytona 500, 2017 summer), Harvick (2007 Daytona 500, 2010 summer) and Austin Dillon (2018 Daytona 500, 2022 summer) have each won there twice.

The other active past winners of the summer race include Blaney (2021), Byron (2020), Haley (2019), Jones (2018), Keselowski (2016), Almirola (2014) and Busch (2008). Additionally, Cindric (2022), McDowell (2021) and Logano (2015) have won the Daytona 500.

NASCAR at Daytona favorites, best picks to win

Considering how many drivers have won at Daytona recently, it might seem impossible to determine a favorite. The last eight races there have been won by eight different drivers.

But the truth is that, more often than not, the same drivers find their way to the front at drafting tracks like Daytona. Whether or not they finish at the front, though, is often out of their control. 

Among drivers with at least three starts at Daytona, Cindric has the best average finish at 10.5 in four races. Wallace (13.0 in 12 races), Dillon (15.6 in 20 races), Hamlin (16.8 in 35 races) and Bowman (16.8 in 14 races) have also run decently well, historically.

Crashes are inevitable at Daytona, so picking a winner is sometimes just about finding someone who’s still in the running at lap 160. Bowman has just one DNF in his 14 starts, while Allmendinger has two DNFs in 20 starts and Hamlin has five DNFs in 35 starts. On the other side, Keselowski (13 DNFs in 28 starts), Busch (12 in 36 starts), Suarez (9 in 12 starts) and Larson (9 in 18 starts) have often struggled to finish.

What is the weather for Daytona Beach this weekend?

NBC Miami is predicting a clear weekend for racing in Daytona Beach. There’s a 1% chance of rain on Friday for qualifying with sunny skies and a high of 88 degrees. On Saturday, there’s a 6% chance of rain, a high of 88 degrees and mostly sunny skies with temps expected to remain in the low-80s for race time. Keep up to date with the latest forecast right here.

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