The Daytona 500, located in Daytona Beach, Florida, is arguably the world's most anticipated and watched car race. As the NASCAR Cup Series season-opening race, it is known to be one of the highest-rated auto races in the United States, with over eight million viewers tuning in annually to watch these drivers compete. The race is 500 miles long and is held at the Daytona International Speedway. Drivers complete 200 laps within this speedway, as the track is 1.5 miles long.

Ever since its first race, which took place in February of 1959 under the name of the “Inaugural 500 Mile International Sweepstakes,” the Daytona 500 has been a prestigious event. Over the years it has gained popularity among viewers and held the highest ratings for United States car races from 1995 to 2020. Due to its great increase in viewers, the race has changed its name several times since 1959.

For this year’s race, several events took place a few days prior. Firstly, there were qualifying races that were held to determine the order in which the 40 drivers would race. After completing the car inspection, each driver competed in a single-car qualifying race with only one lap. The best 10 cars from the single-car races then advanced to the next level of qualifying races, another round in which those cars competed in a single-car lap to reach the fastest times. The two fastest cars from the single-car races were the cars in the front row of the Daytona 500, the most desirable place to start. This year, drivers Joey Logano and Michael McDowell started in the front, respectively. The rest of the cars were ordered based on how they competed in the qualifying “duels,” a set of races that took place the day after the single-car races occurred.

The 66th Daytona 500 race began on the 18th of February. It was streamed on FOX Sports, YouTube TV, and numerous other streaming platforms. According to a recent FOX Sports article on this year’s race, driver Ryan Blaney was favored to win it all this February. Blaney competed in the Daytona 500 last year and finished in 8th place, and many sources had confidence in Blaney’s efforts to turn around and place first this year. Another contender who was high on the FOX Sports’ odds was Ryan Stenhouse Jr., as he was the winner of last year’s Daytona 500 race.

Despite the watchers betting their money on Blaney and Stenhouse Jr., racer William Byron came in first place on the 18th. However, it was not an easy win for Byron. After a series of uncertainty as to who would win, Byron cleared through the debris to take home the flag. Tune in next year for the 67th annual Daytona 500 to see if there will be a driver who can step up and beat Byron.