No sporting event better ushers in the transition from winter to spring than the Daytona 500, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans will hope it's the race that finally sees Junior shirk second place and open the season with a win.
Earnhart has finished second at Daytona in each of the last two seasons en route to back-to-back appearance in the Chase. The race is by no means a predictor for season success, but he's racing as well as we've seen him since 2004, when he last won a Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway. Last year's finish began an impressive run for Dale Jr., who amassed top 10 finishes in the first five races to start the season.
Eyes will be on Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who hopes to get off to a quick start once again. He won the last running at Daytona and carried the momentum to win six races and earn his sixth championship. The No. 48 car has thrived on the track, averaging a finish of 12th since Johnson made his debut in 2002. But Thursday the 48 ran out of gas on the last lap of a Budweiser Duel race, causing a wreck while itself bursting into flames, forcing Johnson to a backup car.
Whether you're lucky enough to be at Daytona for the race or watching from the comfort of home, here's your schedule for the full weekend of races.
Friday, Feb. 21
7:30 p.m. ET: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250
TV: Fox Sports 1
Saturday, Feb. 22
1:15 p.m. ET: NASCAR Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300
Sunday, Feb. 23
1 p.m. ET: Daytona 500