Race: NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 253
Track: Daytona International Speedway Road Course (3.61-mile layout)
Race Date: Sunday, February 21, 2021
Time: 3:00 PM ET
Green Flag Time: 3:20 PM ET
Broadcast: FOX (TV) — MRN, Sirius XM NASCAR (Radio)
Stage 1: 16 laps — Stage 2: 18 laps — Stage 3: 36 laps
Chase Elliott, who finished second in last weekend’s Daytona 500, has to be the favorite for this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series event at the Daytona Road Course. Elliott, who has asserted himself as the best road racer in NASCAR over the last couple of seasons, will start from the pole (determined by NASCAR’s performance metric formula). The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion has 11-career Cup Series wins, five of which have come at road courses.
Elliott won the only points-paying NASCAR Cup Series event ever contested on this track layout last season, and he was in contention for the win on this track layout in the Busch Clash until contact with Ryan Blaney in the final turn of the race.
If someone is going to knock Elliott off his perch as the road ace in NASCAR, this weekend, why not Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell? McDowell, who comes from a road racing background, is riding the high of his first-career NASCAR Cup Series win in 358 starts and he will start second on Sunday. McDowell scored a top-10 finish last season at the Daytona Road Course. With improved FRM performance over the last season, and knowing he’s essentially locked up a Playoff berth, McDowell can afford to be aggressive.
Denny Hamlin has also been surprisingly quick on the Daytona Road Course. Despite not being known as a road racing expert, he finished runner-up here a year ago and he led the most laps in the Busch Clash exhibition race a couple of weeks ago. There is a chance that Denny could deliver this weekend from the fourth starting spot.
Martin Truex Jr. (starting 21st) and Chris Buescher (starting 30th) scored top-five finishes at the Daytona Road Course a season ago, but start deep in the pack. Of the two, Truex would be expected to overcome the odds the most, as he has four-career road course wins.
Race Recap / Highlights
Pre/Post-Race Stats and Information
No practice / qualifying
- Sunday, February 21st — 3:00 PM ET — Race (Stages 16/34/70 Laps = 252.7 Miles)
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.