● Guess Who’s Back: For the first time since 2007, Interstate Batteries will return as a primary sponsor for the Daytona 500, sharing space with Monster Energy. Interstate Batteries’ primary sponsorship at the Daytona 500 started in 1992 with the inception of Joe Gibbs Racing, its first of 16 primary sponsorships at The Great American Race from 1992 through 2007 with drivers Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, and J.J. Yeley.
● The Dale and Dale Show: With Interstate’s return to the Daytona 500, the 2023 edition of The Great American Race also happens to be the 30th anniversary of the “Dale and Dale Show.” In the 1993 Daytona 500, Interstate Batteries and JGR driver Jarrett beat the late Dale Earnhardt across the finish line with Jarrett’s father Ned in the CBS broadcast booth calling his son’s run to the checkered flag in one of the most memorable moments in Daytona 500 and NASCAR history. Not to mention the exciting call before a live audience on national television, the win was the first of many for JGR, and the first for sponsor Interstate Batteries just a year after their iconic partnership kicked off in 1992.
● Rookie Stripe: On top of Interstate Batteries returning to the Daytona 500 for the first time since 2007 and celebrating the 30th anniversary of its special Daytona 500 win, Ty Gibbs’ Daytona 500 debut will mark the beginning of his chase for 2023 Cup Series Rookie of the Year honors. He enters his first fulltime Cup Series season with a moderate amount of experience, however, having run 15 Cup Series races in 2022 and gaining valuable experience in the NextGen car while filling in for injured veteran Kurt Busch.
● To earn a spot in this year’s Daytona 500, drivers must first compete in the Bluegreen Vacations Duel – twin 150-mile qualifying races that set the 40-car field for the Daytona 500.
● Before drivers compete in the Duel, they race the clock in single-lap qualifying. The two fastest cars are locked into the field while the rest of the drivers are split into the Duel. Qualifiers in odd-numbered positions are in the first Duel and qualifiers in even-numbered positions are in the second Duel.
● At the age of 19 years, 9 months and 20 days, Gibbs made his first career NASCAR Cup Series start last July 24 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway for 23XI Racing to become the 37th driver younger than 20 years old to make a Cup Series start. He started at the rear of the field, but completed all 160 laps on his way to an impressive 16th-place finish. Best of his 15 Cup Series starts last year was his 10th-place result at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
● Dazzling Debut: Gibbs was victorious in his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut in the February 2021 race on the Daytona road course. He led 14 of the 56 laps and became the youngest driver to win a Xfinity road-course race at 18 years, 4 months and 16 days. The native of Charlotte, North Carolina, also became the second-youngest winner in Xfinity Series history behind Joey Logano, who won in June 2008 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta at the age of 18 years, 21 days.
● Gibbs is the sixth driver to win in his Xfinity Series debut, joining Dale Earnhardt, Joe Ruttman, Ricky Rudd, Terry Labonte and Kurt Busch. Those five drivers had already driven in the NASCAR Cup Series before racing in the Xfinity Series.
● Speaking from Experience: While Gibbs is a Cup Series rookie, his crew chief Chris Gayle has plenty of experience, and even a pair of wins and some wins on his Daytona resume at Daytona. Gayle and driver Erik Jones won the July 2018 race at Daytona, as well as the 2020 Clash, both on the 2.5-mile superspeedway oval.