We know who will start on the front row at the 2018 Daytona 500, as Alex Bowman and Denny Hamlin finished 1-2 in qualifying last Sunday. But now it’s time to determine how the rest of the drivers will fill out the starting grid, and of course, there’s only one way to do that: With the Can-Am Duels, a pair of 150-mile races that will not only lock down the starting lineup for next Sunday but will also reward the first championship points of the new season.
The first Duel is scheduled to start Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, while the second Duel will start at about 9 p.m. ET. Both will broadcast on Fox Sports 1, and if you don’t have cable or a cable log-in, you can watch the both of the races online by signing up for a free trial of one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to an extensive Netflix-like on-demand streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live TV channels, including Fox Sports 1. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial and you can then watch on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
FuboTV: Fox Sports 1 is included in the “Fubo Premier” channel package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch the races live on your computer via the FuboTV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app.
DirecTV Now: Fox Sports 1 is included in each of the four main channel packages. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, plus you can get a free Amazon Fire TV if you prepay two months. Once signed up, you can watch the races live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
Sling TV: Fox Sports 1 is included in the “Sling Blue” channel package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch the races live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
Leading the way in the first Duel will be Daytona 500 pole sitter, Alex Bowman, who clocked a best lap of 46.002 to top veterans Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch in the initial qualifying runs. The new driver of the No. 88 car following the retirement of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bowman is already impressing his opponents.
“He substituted phenomenally for Dale Junior,” said Hamlin. “He got there the old-fashioned way, on hard work and grit. I think he’ll handle it. He’s a young guy, but he’s been in the Cup series quite a few years. I think he’ll be the surprising guy of this year.”
Though his spot in the front row at the Daytona 500 is already secured no matter what happens on Thursday, the 24-year-old will be looking to grab some early championship points. He’ll likely face the biggest challenges from guys like Brad Keselowski (qualified 19th; will start Duel 1 in 10th), Joey Logano (qualified 11; will start Duel 1 in 6th), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (qualified 9th; will start Duel 1 in 5th), Johnson (qualified 3rd; will start Duel 1 in 2nd), Ryan Blaney (qualified 15th; will start Duel 1 in 8th) and 2017 Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch (qualified 17th; will start Duel 1 in 9th).
In the second Duel, Hamlin–a one-time Daytona 500 winner and three-time Duel winner–will start in the No. 1 spot, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Erik Jones. Other big-hitters in that race include Chase Elliott (qualified 10th; will start Duel 2 in 5th), who won his Duel last year, Kevin Harvick (qualified 8th, will start Duel 2 in 4th), Kyle Larson (qualified 22nd, will start Duel 2 in 11th) and 2017 Cup champion Martin Truex Jr (qualified 26th, will start Duel 2 in 13th).
As has been the case in the past, the order of the first Duel (minus Bowman) will set the inside row for Sunday’s massive showdown, and the order of second Duel (minus Hamlin) will set the outside row.