clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Daytona 500 qualifying format: Sunday times will set front row

The top two spots in the Daytona 500 will be determined in qualifying Sunday, with the rest of the field battling for position in the Can-Am Duels.

The top two spots in the 2016 Daytona 500 field will be decided Sunday, but the other 38 spots won't be determined until the Sprint Cup Can-Am Duels Thursday.

For the 2016 NASCAR season, only 40 cars will be in the field for Sprint Cup races, and 36 of those spots will belong to chartered teams that are guaranteed a spot each weekend. That leaves four spots open, and with 43 entries for the Daytona 500 qualifying, that means three teams will not get in.

The seven drivers competing for four spots are Ryan Blaney, Robert Richardson, Josh Wise, David Gilliland, Michael McDowell, Matt DiBenedetto and Cole Whitt. The top two finishers of those seven drivers in the Can-Am Duels will earn two of those spots and the other two will get in based on their time in qualifying Sunday.

Blaney, 22, will draw eyes as the driver for Wood Brothers Racing, which will return to a full-time slate after years as a part-time racing team. While the illustrious history of Wood Brothers, which once featured drivers like David Pearson, A.J. Foyt and Cale Yarborough, wasn't enough to earn a charter, Blaney will represent the team and attempt to race his way into the Daytona 500 field.

The top two times Sunday will secure spots in the front row of the Great American Race, but the remaining 38 spots will be up for grabs in the Can-Am Duels Thursday. The Can-Am Duels are just 60-lap races and those fields will be determined by the times in qualifying.

The first Can-Am Duel will decide drivers in the odd-numbered positions on the inside row, and the second will determine the drivers in the even-numbered positions on the outside row.

Coverage of qualifying begins at 1 p.m. ET on FOX with the first driver set to get started at 1:15 p.m.