Five Questions Before The Daytona 500

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

Patriotic colors, energized fans filling the grandstands, and engines roaring to life will fill the scene as the 2022 NASCAR season gets underway on Sunday, February 20, 2022 at Daytona International Speedway. Anticipation and excitement are rising as we are days away from The Great American Race.

Here are a few questions heading into Daytona …

1. Will the reigning 2021 Daytona 500 Champion make it a repeat?

Michael McDowell, driver of the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports, is the reigning Daytona 500 Champion. The Phoenix, Arizona native was running third when contact between race leaders Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski changed the finish of the historic race event. During the first practice session for the Daytona 500, McDowell ran at a top speed of 192.736 mph in 2022 NASCAR Gen Next car and helped Ford to sweep the top five spots during that session. With such a strong showing this early, will McDowell be able to make it back-to-back wins?

2What will be the performance of the 2022 Next Gen car throughout the 2022 season?

NASCAR has introduced the Next Gen car for the 2022 season. Testing and practice sessions have seemingly gone well; however, there may still be some unknowns. The new race car replaces the Gen 6 that was used from 2013 to 2021 and includes upgraded specs such as independent rear suspension, larger brakes, and new front and rear bumpers. That’s just to name a few of the characteristics of this car. The interesting part will be the performance of this car throughout the season. Will it provide exciting racing competition or are fans in for some scratch your head moments?

3Can one of these four active full-time Cup drivers earn their second Daytona 500 Championship?

Four drivers, besides Michael McDowell, have earned Daytona 500 wins and may be looking to make their way to Victory Lane for a second time. Austin Dillon (2018), Kurt Busch (2017), Joey Logano (2015), and Kevin Harvick (2007) are all one-time Daytona 500 Champions. At the conclusion of the 2022 Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, three of these Cup drivers finished in the top ten. Logano was the recipient of the checkered flag while Dillon finished third and Harvick finished tenth. With those strong finishes and being able to escape The Big One, which one of these drivers can capture their second Daytona 500 victory?

4. How will the new NASCAR penalty system for the Next Gen car shake up the season standings?

 Penalties can change the scope of any championship run and this season NASCAR has implemented a new penalty system for the Next Gen car. Tougher sanctions have been implemented based on a three-tier system from the governing body. Not only will there be points deductions and suspensions if warranted, but there will also be the possibility for teams to be banned from the playoffs. Pushing boundaries by making slight modifications to parts isn’t something new; however, it’s quite clear it won’t be tolerated. Who will be the rule takers and breakers? 

5. Is NASCAR’s Silly Season really over?

 There’s that age old saying “never a dull moment.” NASCAR’s Silly Season always brings unexpected news such as driver shake ups, changes within teams and so much more. We’ve definitely seen a lot of the leading into the off season across all three of NASCAR’s top tier racing series. While some may hope that the dust has settled with the green flag preparing to fly at Daytona International Speedway, you just never know.


Five Questions Before The Daytona 500 Five Questions Before The Daytona 500 Reviewed by Unique Hiram on Wednesday, February 16, 2022 Rating: 5