CONCORD, N.C.— This Sunday, the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season officially begins at Daytona International Speedway with the 58th running of the Daytona 500.
The anticipation to start the season is at its highest point, as Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said the team has been “fired up” all offseason. Rookie Chase Elliott -- the youngest Daytona 500 pole-winner of all time -- will lead the field to the green flag at the Great American Race on Sunday.
Tune in Sunday to catch the action as the season gets underway, and make sure to keep these key notes in mind.
BROADCAST INFORMATION: Sunday’s race will air live on FOX at 1 p.m. ET. Can’t make it to a television? Listen to the race live on MRN and SiriusXM to catch the radio coverage. Here is the full broadcast schedule:
Friday, Feb. 19:
12 p.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series Practice, FOX Sports 1
2 p.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series Practice, FOX Sports 1
Saturday, Feb. 20:
12:15 p.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series Final Practice, FOX Sports 1
Sunday, Feb. 21:
1 p.m. ET: Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500, FOX/ MRN/ SiriusXM
THIS WEEK’S PAINT SCHEMES: For the 58th annual Daytona 500, Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS. NAPA AUTO PARTS will be featured on the hood of rookie of the year contender Elliott’s No. 24 Chevrolet SS. Jimmie Johnson will compete in the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive “Amelia,” the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS.
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT DAYTONA: Hendrick Motorsports has earned eight Daytona 500 wins with five different drivers. Last season's front row for the Great American Race represents five of the victories, with pole-winner Jeff Gordon having three and outside pole-sitter Johnson owning two. The organization's first Daytona 500 win came with driver Geoffrey Bodine in 1986. Darrell Waltrip (1989) and Earnhardt (2014) also have posted Daytona 500 wins for Hendrick Motorsports. The organization has a total of 14 points-paying NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories at Daytona International Speedway.
KAHNE AT DAYTONA: Kahne has one win at Daytona International Speedway as a Sprint Cup Series driver, and it came in the second qualifying race for the 2010 Daytona 500. In the last three qualifying races at Daytona, Kahne has two second-place finishes and one seventh-place finish. He has never finished outside the top 10 in a Duel since joining Hendrick Motorsports. Kahne finished ninth in last year’s Daytona 500. According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Kahne ranked sixth among the 2015 Daytona 500 entrants for laps spent in the top 15 (90 percent). Kahne won the February 2014 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona while driving for JR Motorsports.
ELLIOTT AT DAYTONA: The Dawsonville, Georgia, native will make his Cup debut in the No. 24 Chevrolet at Daytona after having competing there four times in the NXS and once in the ARCA Series. In his four NXS starts, Elliott earned two top-10 finishes with his most-recent finish being third. In 2014, during his lone ARCA start of the year, Elliott finished ninth at the 2.5-mile track.
JOHNSON AT DAYTONA: Johnson has recently racked up some spectacular statistics and laps led for the No. 48 team at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. Johnson swept the season with victories in both the Daytona 500 and in the July 400-mile event in 2013, which was also the season he won his sixth championship. In the 2014 Daytona 500, Johnson finished fifth after leading 15 laps. In 2015, Johnson finished fifth in the Daytona 500 leading 39 laps and finished second in July to teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. after leading 35 laps.
EARNHARDT AT DAYTONA: In the four superspeedway points races last season, Earnhardt had an average finish of 1.75, with two wins and a worst finish of third place. At Daytona, the Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has four wins, including two Daytona 500 victories, and most recently drove the No. 88 Chevrolet SS to victory there in July 2015. He ranked first among all active drivers in 2015 in restrictor-plate competition.