5 things to know before Daytona 500 on Sunday
No. 3 is No. 1: The iconic No. 3, the one the late Dale Earnhardt drove to 67 wins -- including the 1998 Daytona 500 -- and six championships, is back on top at Daytona. Sprint Cup rookie Austin Dillon took the number out of hibernation and won the pole last weekend for "The Great American Race" in the No. 3 Chevrolet, a car team owner Richard Childress refused to field at NASCAR's top level since Earnhardt's fatal accident on the last lap in 2001. But with his 23-year-old grandson in the Cup series, Childress allowed Dillon to use the number.
Daytona dud?: The list of pre-race celebrities isn't quite a star-studded lineup. Actor Chris Evans is the grand marshal and will give the command to "start your engines." Evans stars in "Captain America: The Winter Solider," scheduled for April 4. He joins a lineup that includes actor Gary Sinise and singers Aloe Blacc and Luke Bryan.
Good to go: NASCAR has approved two high-profile 18-year-old drivers for speedway racing. Chase Elliott and Dylan Kwasniewski ran in the ARCA opener. They were required to drive the ARCA race at Daytona to gain clearance, which they needed for the Nationwide opener Saturday. Elliott is the son of Bill Elliott.
Fast Ford: While Chevrolet swept the front row for the Daytona 500, Ford wasn't far behind. Roush Fenway Racing teammates Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards were third and fourth and Ford posted seven of the top 15 spots in qualifying.
Burning pace: The pace car still has the hottest lap during Speedweeks. The Chevrolet SS pace car caught fire during the Sprint Unlimited race last weekend.
-- Associated Press