2014 Daytona 500 date, time and TV channel: Sprint Cup teams return to Daytona International Speedway for the start of the 2014 season at the Daytona 500 Sunday, Feb. 23, at 1pm ET on FOX.
The brief pit stop that is NASCAR’s “Silly Season” winter break ends as Sprint Cup teams return to Daytona International Speedway for the start of the 2014 season. Jimmie Johnson provided a familiar sight in November by hoisting his sixth championship in eight seasons, but the 2013 season had unusual cases of bad breaks (FOX’s doomed CableCam at Charlotte), bad luck (Tony Stewart breaking his leg in a sprint car crash) and bad intentions (Michael Waltrip Racing’s Chase-fixing scandal). Here’s what to look for in a hopefully smoother 2014 Cup campaign:
Driver/Team Changes Kevin Harvick leaves Richard Childress Racing after 13 years to move to Stewart-Haas Racing, and Kurt Busch drives a fourth car for Stewart-Haas. Martin Truex Jr. leaves Michael Waltrip Racing in the race-fixing scandal fallout and joins Furniture Row Racing. Ryan Newman replaces Jeff Burton in the RCR No. 31 Chevy. Juan Pablo Montoya leaves NASCAR to return to IndyCar. A.J. Allmendinger returns as a full-time driver, joining JTG Daugherty Racing. Rookie Austin Dillon drives the famed No. 3 — not driven since Dale Earnhardt in 2001 — for RCR.
Chase Changes NASCAR is introducing an elimination format to the Chase this season, as a Chase Grid of 16 drivers gets reduced by four after every three races. Four drivers will be eligible to win the Sprint Cup championship in the season finale, with the race’s highest finisher taking the season title.
Gen-6 Adjustments The Gen-6 car will have a slightly different aerodynamics package for non-restrictor-plate races in an effort to increase passing and improve competition. Increased front and rear downforce on the cars will make for faster speeds in the corners.
Schedule Shifts A slightly different lineup for spring races sees Martinsville Speedway’s date on March 30, a week earlier than in 2013. Texas’ date moves one week earlier from primetime Saturday to Sunday afternoon April 6. Kansas Speedway swaps dates with Darlington Raceway and has its first primetime Cup race May 10.
NASCAR On TV For 2014, FOX again carries the early part of the Sprint Cup season, TNT airs six summer races, and ESPN and ABC combine for the rest of the season and the Chase playoffs. FOX Sports 1 carries the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. It’s a lame-duck season for TNT and ESPN, as NBC won their portion of TV rights beginning in 2015.
Speedweeks at Daytona 2014 Schedule
Feb. 15 — Sprint Unlimited, FS1, 8pm ET
Feb. 16 — Daytona 500 Qualifying, FOX, 1pm ET
Feb. 20 — Budweiser Duels, FS1, 7pm ET
Feb. 23 — Daytona 500, FOX, 1pm ET
NASCAR Sprint Cup 2014 Key Dates
Feb. 15-23 — Speedweeks at Daytona, FOX/FOX Sports 1
Feb. 23 — Daytona 500, FOX
May 17 — NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, FOX Sports 1
May 25 — Coca-Cola 600, FOX
July 5 — Coke Zero 400 (Daytona), TNT
July 27 — Brickyard 400 (Indianapolis), ESPN
Sept. 14 — GEICO 400 (Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins), ESPN
Nov. 16 — Ford EcoBoost 400 (Season Finale), ESPN
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