On Tuesday night, 21 drivers got the 2021 NASCAR season started with the Busch Clash.  On Wednesday, 44 crews took to the track to set the front row for the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 14.

The Cup Series events are all under the lights but the 500 itself will run in the heat of the afternoon.

As a part of the unique setup to determine the starting lineup for the Daytona 500, the drivers will make single car runs around the two and a half mile high banked track for one timed lap to decide which driver will sit on the pole and who will start alongside on the front row.

With 44 cars at the track and only 36 charters to guarantee a starting spot; eight cars will not make the race.  As a part of the qualifying process, the two fastest “open” cars will also earn themselves a spot in the race.

For the first time in months, the drivers took to the track for a 50 minute practice session.  In a bit of a surprise, brand new racing team 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace led the list of drivers in the number 23 car.

A power  in Daytona has put the broadcast booth and part of the front stretch in the dark. 

In the first ever night time qualifying run, Kaz Grala is the first driver on the Daytona 500.  Grala clocks a time of 47.925 seconds around the track.

In a new team, Daniel Suarez is the second car on the track and clocks a time of 47.636.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr in the number 47 car has a qualifying time of 47.477 seconds to take the provisional pole.

After being on the ”crash clock”, 62 year old Derrike Cope could not get the car going and will miss qualifying, but will have a chance to make the race via the duel races.

The number 62 car driven by Noah Gragson failed the inspection process three times and will not be allowed to make a qualifying run.  He will get the opportunity to make the race with the duel races on Thursday night.

After leading the drivers in practice, Bubba Wallace makes his first qualifying run with the new racing team 23XI Racing and makes a lap of 47.474 seconds to take the provisional pole.

David Ragan has locked in a spot in the 500 as the fastest of the open cars with a time of 47.73 seconds.

Ryan Preece is the second of the two open car drivers to secure a spot in the 500 with a time of 47.585.

William Byron has put his number 24 Hendricks Motorsports car on the provisional pole with a time of 47. 314 seconds. 

Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott ran a lap of 47.695 seconds to put him in sixth place.  Currently five of the top six drivers run Chevrolets.  A Chevrolet has sat on the pole for the past 13 years.

With his fourth front row Daytona start, Alex Bowman put the number 48 car on the pole with a time of 47.056 seconds.  With eight cars left to qualify, the front row has two of the four Hendrick Motorsports cars on the front row.  Alex Bowman replaced retired driver Jimmie Johnson in the number 48 car.

After winning the Busch Clash last night, Kyle Busch makes a qualifying run of 47.78 seconds.

The final car to qualify is Christopher Bell in the number 20 Joe Gibbs Racing car with a time of 47.57 seconds.

Alex Bowman wins the pole for the 2021 Daytona 500 for his fourth front row start in a row.  Hendrick Motorsports team mate William Byron will start alongside on the front row.

The drivers who have qualified in the odd number positions will race in the first duel; while the drivers who qualified in the even number positions will race in the second duel on Thursday night.