Qualifying for the 55th running of the Daytona 500 will take place on Sunday, beginning at 1 p.m. ET, with the big news being a return to the traditional qualifying format after the dumping of Top-35 rule used from 2005 to 2012.
In those years, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series locked the top 35 teams into the field each week, but starting with qualifying for the "Great American Race" on Sunday the old format will be used, meaning the fastest 36 cars from qualifying will make the race, with the other seven spots being filled on owner points and past champion provisionals. Only the top two qualifiers are assured of their starting spots in the 500.
The new (old) qualifying format for the Daytona 500 explained in a bit more detail below:
- As noted above, positions 1 and 2 will go to the two fastest drivers during qualifying on Sunday. These will be the only two slots locked in for next weekend's race on Sunday.
- Positions 3 through 32 will be set by the finishing order in the Budweiser Duel (formerly the Gatorade Duel) qualifying races on Thursday.
- Positions 33 through 36 go to drivers who did not complete the qualifying races but posted the four fastest speeds during qualifying.
- Positions 37 through 42 are awarded as provisionals, based on 2012 owner points. Position 43 is also provisional, given to the most recent champion not already in the 2013 field.
The 55th running of the Daytona 500 will be held at Daytona International Speedway at 1 p.m. ET Feb. 24. FOX will have the broadcast.