How long is the Daytona 500? Number of laps, stages, cars & more about the 'Great American Race'

How long is the Daytona 500? Number of laps, stages, cars & more about the ‘Great American Race’

Drivers … start your engines. 

NASCAR is back this Sunday with the Daytona 500, signaling the start of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Kyle Larson takes pole position getting a shot to defend against the field as the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion. Larson took his first Cup Series championship in 2021, holding off Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott in the closing laps of the Cup Series Championship Race to take home the title. 

Larson’s first championship came in his debut season with Hendrick Motorsports, and it came in dominant fashion: He won 10 races, while no other driver notched more than four victories. 

Last year, Michael McDowell took home the checkered flag for the race, the lone race win of his Cup Series career. Daytona is always good for a surprise or two. 

Here’s what you need to know about the race:

How long is the Daytona 500?

  • Length: 500 miles
  • Time (approx.): 3 1/2 hours

As the name suggests, the Daytona 500 is 500 miles long (200 laps total). 

The race takes around 3 1/2 hours to complete. 

How many laps are in the Daytona 500?

The “500” in the Daytona 500 name stands for the mileage, not the laps. The 2 1/2-mile track at the Daytona International Speedway lends itself to a 200-lap race.

The track is one of three superspeedways that host NASCAR Cup Series races: Indianapolis Superspeedway and Talladega Superspeedway are the other circuits.

What are the Daytona 500 stages?

  • Stage 1: 65 laps
  • Stage 2: 65 laps
  • Final stage: 70 laps

The Daytona 500 is split into three stages: The first two stages of the race are 65 laps, while the final stage is 70 laps. 

Stage racing was introduced in 2019. The top 10 finishers of the first two stages win additional points: The first-place winner earns 10 points, second place nine points, third place eight points and so forth, through 10th place. 

The final stage awards the race results as well and gives points to the field. 

Where is the Daytona 500?

  • Location: Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.

The premiere race of the NASCAR season always takes place at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. 

Daytona is located on the east coast of Florida: It’s 50 miles northeast of Orlando, 90 miles south of Jacksonville and 260 miles north of Miami.

How many cars are in the Daytona 500?

There are 42 cars qualified for this year’s Daytona 500, with 21 teams total.