61st daytona 500

1:30 p.m. Sunday • Daytona International Speedway • Ch. 9

Youth reigns in front row

The essentials

What: Race 1 of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup season

Race distance: 500 miles (200 laps) around the 2½-mile oval

The pole and beyond: Driving the No. 24 car made famous by Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon, 21-year-old William Byron turned a lap at 194.304 mph last weekend to edge teammate and 2018 pole sitter Alex Bowman (age 25) by fewer than two-tenths of a second. The front row is the youngest in 500 history. Byron gave Chevrolet its seventh straight Daytona 500 pole. Rows 2, 3 and 4 are all Fords.

2018 in review: Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500 for just his second career win. The series title went to Joey Logano, who beat out fellow finalists Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick — all former champions. It was Logano's first Cup title and Ford's first in 14 seasons.

The new NASCAR

This Daytona 500 highlights the dramatic loss of star power from just four years ago. The 2015 race featured Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Bobby Labonte, Michael Waltrip and Danica Patrick. All are now retired. Some of the big-money sponsors in that race included Lowe's, Target, Dollar General, GoDaddy and 5-Hour Energy. All have since pulled out of NASCAR. This will be the final NASCAR race for restrictor plates, the horsepower-sapping devices that reduce speed and were intended to improve safety at the nation's fastest tracks. NASCAR is switching to tapered spacers to keep speeds in check.

Other story lines

• Among active drivers, Martin Truex Jr. has raced in the most 500s (14) without winning. Perhaps his luck will change now that he's racing for Joe Gibbs Racing.

• Joe Gibbs' eldest son, J.D., died last month following a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease. He was 49. JGR driver Denny Hamlin is dedicating this season to J.D.'s memory.

• Parker Kligerman, a part-time racer and full-time television personality for NBC, is racing in his second Daytona 500.

• There are eight Daytona 500 rookies in the field.

Fast facts

• There have been only three repeat winners at the Daytona 500: Richard Petty (1973-74), Cale Yarborough (1983-84) and Sterling Marlin (1994-95).

• Just seven pole sitters have won the 500. The last one was Dale Jarrett in 2000. The last four pole sitters have failed to finish in the top 10.

• The past two 500 winners, Austin Dillon and Kurt Busch, didn't win another race for the rest of the season.

• Seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson finished without a victory in 2018 for the first time in 16 seasons.

• Kyle Larson was winless in 2018 but had six seconds.

• Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman will be the honorary starter on Sunday, and another NFL star, J.J. Watt, will serve as the grand marshal.

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The lineup

2018 season

Driver Car Starts Wins Rank

 1. (24) William Byron Chevrolet 36 0 23

 2. (88) Alex Bowman Chevrolet 36 0 16

 3. (4) Kevin Harvick Ford 36 8 3

 4. (22) Joey Logano Ford 36 3 1

 5. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 36 0 18

 6. (14) Clint Bowyer Ford 36 2 12

 7. (21) Paul Menard Ford 36 0 19

 8. (10) Aric Almirola Ford 36 1 5

 9. (95) Matt DiBenedetto Toyota 36 0 29

10. (11) Denny Hamlin Toyota 36 0 11

11. (19) Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 36 4 2

12. (1) Kurt Busch Chevrolet 36 1 6

13. (47) Bubba Wallace Chevrolet 36 0 28

14. (12) Ryan Blaney Ford 36 1 10

15. (37) Chris Buescher Chevrolet 36 0 24

16. (40) Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 36 0 20

17. (48) Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 36 0 14

18. (9) Chase Elliott Chevrolet 36 3 6

19. (6) Ryan Newman Ford 36 0 17

20. (3) Austin Dillon Chevrolet 36 1 13

21. (47) Ryan Preece Chevrolet 5 0 —

22. (13) Ty Dillon Chevrolet 36 0 27

23. (41) Daniel Suarez Ford 36 0 21

24. (38) David Ragan Ford 36 0 25

25. (96) Parker Kligerman Toyota 4 0 —

26. (42) Kyle Larson Chevrolet 36 0 9

27. (00) Landon Cassill Chevrolet 29 0 57

28. (20) Erik Jones Toyota 36 1 15

29. (8) Daniel Hemric Chevrolet 2 0 —

30. (62) Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet 4 0 51

31. (18) Kyle Busch Toyota 36 8 4

32. (32) Corey LaJoie Ford 23 0 34

33. (36) Matt Tifft Ford — — —

34. (34) Michael McDowell Ford 36 0 26

35. (2) Brad Keselowski Ford 36 3 8

36. (15) Ross Chastain Chevrolet 34 0 58

37. (52) Cody Ware Chevrolet 4 0 42

38. (51) BJ McLeod Ford 14 0 —

39. (31) Tyler Reddick Chevrolet — — —

40. (27) Casey Mears Chevrolet — — —