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Daytona 500 qualifying, explained: How pole is determined, what the twin Duels are, more

We discuss how qualifying for the 2022 Daytona 500 will work and what is new.

A detail of the helmet of Austin Cindric, driver of the #2 Discount Tire Ford, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series 64th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The most well-known race in NASCAR is getting closer by the day. The Daytona 500 will take place on Sunday, February 20th with the green flag set to fall at 2:30 p.m. ET. The Daytona 500 kicks off the Cup Series and winning the event cements you among the immortals in the sport. Last year, Michael McDowell got the first victory of his career by winning the Daytona 500.


With the magnitude of the event, NASCAR has developed a unique system for qualifying to determine pole position. Single-car qualifying will take place on Wednesday, February 16th at 8:05 p.m. ET and it will have two rounds. The top-10 speeds from the first round will advance to the second and the two fastest cars from that second heat will be set as the front-row starters for the race on Sunday.

Bluegreen Vacation Duels

The remaining cars from the single-car qualifying results will help determine the lineups for the Bluegreen Vacation Duels races on Thursday, February 17th. The cars that finish in odd placements in the single-car runs will run in the first duel while cars that finish in even placements will run in the second Duel.

The final standings of each Duel race will determine the order for the Daytona 500 field. In order that they finish, the teams from Duel 1 will be lined up on the inside row while the teams from Duel 2 will be lined up on the outside row still in the order they finish their specific duel.

The duel lineups are not yet known, but DraftKings Sportsbook is offering odds on the two winners. The field is favored at +100, while Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott winning the two duels is +2800.

Points Awarded for Qualifying

For more added incentive for the Duels, the top-10 finishers in each duel will receive points toward the championship for the regular season similar to what we see with NASCAR’s stage system. In this case, it is only the top-10 teams getting points though with the number one finisher receiving 10 points and then one down for the remaining nine finishers.