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Daytona 500 2012 Qualifying: Start Time, TV Schedule And More

It's Daytona 500 qualifying day at Daytona International Speedway and we've got the start time and some other facts about qualifying for you below.

What time does qualifying start? The most prestigious qualifying session in NASCAR begins at 1:05 p.m. EST today – a session that actually does little toward setting the actual Daytona 500 lineup. Drivers will get two laps apiece, and there's not much more to do than try to put the car on the bottom of the track and hope it goes fast. But everyone wants to win the pole, because it generates a week of publicity heading into NASCAR's Super Bowl.

What happens today? Officially, the Daytona 500 qualifying session only locks in two spots: The pole position and the outside pole position. But it will also allow three other drivers – who don't have a guaranteed spot in the 500 – to clinch a berth in the race based on their speed. The rest of the non-guaranteed drivers will have to rely on Thursday's Gatorade Duels to try and make the field. The Duels set the starting order for the Daytona 500, except for the two top spots decided today.

TV and radio: Today's qualifying session can be seen on FOX. If you aren't near a TV, the radio broadcast can be found on your local Motor Racing Network (MRN) affiliate. Click here to see a list of stations where you can listen (or you can also listen online for free here).

Weather: The unofficial NASCAR weatherman predicts rain will threaten today's qualifying session, though he feels it may dissipate by the late afternoon hours. NASCAR plans to wait as long as possible today to try and qualify, and would then bump qualifying to Monday if needed (instead of canceling it and setting the order by the rulebook).

Last time: Many fans were delighted last year when Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the pole for the Daytona 500, hoping it would lead to another 500 win from NASCAR's most popular driver. It didn't happen, though. Winning the pole for Daytona isn't worth much but bragging rights, when it comes down to it.