The 500 refers to the number of miles (805 km), some 200 laps of the 2.5 mile oval circuit. The Daytona 500 is the first race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Sprint Cup Series calendar and carries the largest prize money. It is often referred to as “The Great American Race”.
It concludes the Daytona Sprint Unlimited and Daytona Budweiser Speedweeks event. In 2018, the Speedweeks schedule starts on Tuesday, February 13 with Can-Am Duel races on Thursday, February 15, the NextEra Energy Resources 250 race on Friday, February 16 and PowerShares QQQ 300 race on Saturday, February 17 leading up to the Daytona 500 race on Sunday, February 18.
There are around 43 cars taking part each year. Richard Petty is the leading overall winner with seven wins between 1964 and 1981. The fastest average lap speed during qualifying of 210.364 miles per hour (338.548 km/h) was recorded by Bill Elliot in 1987.
In 2018 the 60th Daytona 500 race itself starts at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 18 but the day starts at around 7:00 a.m. in the morning when the garages open.
Daytona 500 Event Schedule
On race day, the UNOH Fanzone and garages open at 7:00 a.m. with the grandstands opening at 8:00 a.m. Guided garage tours in the UNOH Fanzone are available from 8:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
The Daytona 500 race starts at 3:00 p.m.
There is also a midway carnival, live music, food and drink concessions.
Rascal Flatts will be performing as part of the DAYTONA 500 Pre-Race Show on the pit road of the “World Center of Racing”.
Daytona 500 Tickets
Daytona International Speedway has recently undergone some major redevelopment work to the grandstands with 101,000 permanent grandstand seats.
Single day ticket prices depend upon where on the circuit you want to watch the race from. They start at $95 but sell out quickly. You can also buy multi-day packages.
If you want to get closer to the pre-race action, you can get a $99 Daytona 500 UNOH Fanzone / Pre race wristband that allows you to watch the garage activity and take part in the fan forums on the main stage. You can also get access onto the track surface of Daytona International Speedway, watch the driver introductions, have great photo opportunities on the start/finish line and along the pit road.
Children 12 and under are free but must be accompanied by an adult. Note wristbands do not include a race day admission ticket.