The Non-Motorsports Fan’s Guide to the 2020 Daytona 500

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 17:  Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 61st Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Getty Images

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 17: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 61st Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Over the past couple decades, NASCAR has seen a lot of changes. We have seen some great finishes with three different chassis, as well as some truly historic moments. We now go into the new decade with high expectations. Thus brings the first race of the season, the 2020 Daytona 500. For years upon years, this has been the first race of the season and has seen thrills and spills galore. This year will most likely be no different. Here are the story lines to watch as we go into the race.

Jimmie Johnson’s last 500: Jimmie Johnson, the driver of the number 48 Ally Bank Chevrolet Camaro for Hendrick Motorsports, will be starting his last Daytona 500 in his final season, being in the cup series since 2002.This season he will also be looking to be the driver with the most championships with 8, beating NASCAR legend Richard Petty, who he’s currently tied with 7.

Rookies: There will be 5 rookies in the cup series who came up from the Xfinity series, the second tier of NASCAR, to watch for in the race this year. Christopher Bell, driving the number 95 Levine Family racing Toyota Camry, Cole Custer, driving the number 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang, John Hunter Nemecheck, driving the 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford Mustang, Brendan Poole, driving the number 15 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, and Tyler Reddick, driving the number 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro.

Drivers with New Teams: During the “Silly Season”, a term for the offseason when drivers from one team sign with another, multiple drivers got new full time rides for the season. Matt DiBenedetto changed from the 95 Levine Family Camry as mentioned earlier with Christopher Bell, to the number 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford Mustang. Then there was a more recent development with international driver Daniel Suarez getting a ride with the 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota Camry after getting released after the 2019 season from the Stewart-Haas Racing 41 Mustang that Cole Custer is driving this season. Chris Buescher, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, and Ryan Preece swapped rides as well, with Buescher in the number 17 Roush Fenway Racing Mustang, Stenhouse in the 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Camaro, and Preece in the 37 JTG Camaro.

The first 500 of the decade has a lot that can happen. Lots of people criticize the sport because its just cars turning left for 500 miles, but with the sheer unpredictability of the race, especially considering it could set a benchmark for how the rest of the season goes, it’s anything but that. You can watch the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 16 at 11:00am on Fox. There are also two preseason races you can watch before then. The first one is on Sunday, February 9th, and it is the Advanced Auto Parts Clash, the beginning of the preseason. Then, on Thursday, February 13th, it’s the Duals at Daytona, which for some teams is the qualifying for the big race. Both of those races will be on FS1. All of this will be a great introduction to motorsport to someone unlike me who’s been watching it since I was a kid and was alway curious about the sport.