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63rd Annual DAYTONA 500 to Open 2021 NASCAR Cup Season While Coke Zero Sugar 400 Will Again Serve as Cutoff Race for the Playoffs


The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series schedule was announced today, and like 2020, the DAYTONA 500, NASCAR’s biggest and most prestigious event, will kick off the season while the Coke Zero Sugar 400 will again be final race of the regular season.

The 63rd annual DAYTONA 500, which has had tickets on sale since mid-August, is set for Presidents’ Day Weekend, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. It will mark the 40th straight time (dating back to 1982) The Great American Race has started off NASCAR’s season. Just a week later, on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, NASCAR racing in the Sunshine State of Florida will continue with Homestead-Miami Speedway moving to the second race on the schedule.

Next year’s summer classic Coke Zero Sugar 400 is set for Saturday evening, August 28. Just last month, for the first time in history, the Coke Zero Sugar 400 served as the last-chance, cutoff race for the playoffs and delivered in dramatic fashion. In a "must win" situation, William Byron battled his way to his first career Cup Series win and a guaranteed spot to the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

"The DAYTONA 500 is a tradition fans world-wide get excited about. The drivers, teams, media and sponsors come here with so much anticipation and hope of winning our sport’s biggest event," said Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile. We are also eager to see if Denny Hamlin can rewrite the DAYTONA 500 record book with his third straight victory in The Great American Race. We can’t wait to see fans from all over the world here in February.

"The excitement both our NASCAR Cup Series races bring to fans in unprecedented. The pressure to get into the playoffs is immense, and provides incredible racing on the high banks of our historic track. We’re looking forward to having the same level of excitement in 2021."

Hamlin can become the first driver in the history of the 2.5-mile venue to capture three consecutive checkered flags in the DAYTONA 500. Currently, he, along with Richard Petty (1973-74), Cale Yarborough (1983-84) and Sterling Marlin (1994-95), are the only drivers to claim two straight DAYTONA 500 victories. In fact, with a win, Hamlin would join Yarborough with four total DAYTONA 500 victories, trailing only Petty, who has seven. Hamlin is already a three-time DAYTONA 500 Champion, also winning in 2016.

Race fans travel from all over the globe to attend the DAYTONA 500, and have since its inception in 1959. This year’s DAYTONA 500 in February had attendees representing all 50 states and 45 countries. Tickets for the 2021 DAYTONA 500 classic start at $99 and can be purchased by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or visiting www.DAYTONA500.com.

Fans wishing to attend the 2021 Coke Zero Sugar 400 can take advantage of an early access pre-sale. Available online or by phone, tickets for the general public start at $49 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and younger. Fans who attended the 2020 event can take advantage of even lower pricing when renewing by the deadline of Dec. 4. For ticket information on the Coke Zero Sugar 400, fans can log onto www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.

With the DAYTONA 500 and Homestead-Miami Speedway’s event, it marks the first time since 1952-54 that the NASCAR Cup Series season has opened with the first two events in the state of Florida. In both ’52 and ’54, the first three events kicked off the season in Florida – Palm Beach Speedway, the DAYTONA Beach/Road Course and Speedway Park in Jacksonville. The ’53 season began at the Palm Beach track followed by road course at Daytona. All three of the venues are no longer in existence.

The full ’21 schedule can be found at nascar.com. Schedules for the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 2021 seasons will be announced in the near future. Start times and television networks for Cup Series races will be also announced at a later date.

Fans also have the opportunity to purchase tickets and multi-day packages with a fresh look for Speedweeks Presented by Advent Health:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 9: 43rd Annual Busch Clash At DAYTONA (DAYTONA Road Course under the lights)
  • Wednesday, Feb. 10: DAYTONA 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger
  • Thursday, Feb. 11: Duel At DAYTONA qualifying races
  • Friday, Feb. 12: NextEra Energy 250 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race
  • Saturday, Feb. 13: NASCAR Racing Experience 300 (NASCAR Xfinity Series) and Lucas Oil 200 Driven By General Tire (ARCA Menards) doubleheader
  • Sunday, Feb. 14: DAYTONA 500, The Great American Race

Premium and extended-stay camping packages include access to general admission seating and the UNOH Fanzone/Pre-race access for each event, excluding the DAYTONA 500. For all other events, children 12 and under are $10 in reserved seating and free in general admission areas and in the UNOH Fanzone/Pre-race access.

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway’s mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season.

— Daytona International Speedway —