How Long Is the Daytona 500?

How Long Is the Daytona 500

The Daytona 500 is one of NASCAR’s most famous races. It is a 500-mile race, over 200 total laps, lasting about 3.5 hours. The view of the track flooded by the Florida sun against its sharply inclined turns is an iconic piece of NASCAR history, and is an image which is intertwined with the very fabric of NASCAR culture. How long is the Daytona 500? Keep reading to find out.

Length of the Daytona 500

  • Distance: 500 miles
  • Number of laps: 200 laps (2.5 miles each)
  • Lap time: 45-50 second average lap time
  • Duration: 3.5 hours average duration

How Many Miles Is the Daytona 500?

As the name would suggest, the Daytona 500 is a race which covers a distance of 500 miles. The length of the track at Daytona International Speedway is 2.5 miles in distance, and over the course of the race, a driver will cover a total distance equivalent to 500 miles as they try to finish the race in the fastest time. While not the longest oval track in NASCAR (that honor is held by the Talladega Superspeedway), it is one of NASCAR’s most iconic tracks. 

The first 500 mile competition at the Daytona International Speedway was held in 1959, and was won by the legendary Lee Petty. Other races besides the Daytona 500 are held at the Daytona International Speedway, including the Daytona 200 and the Coke Zero 400. 

However, the distances of these races pale in comparison to the 800km length that is endured during the Daytona 500. The incredible length of the Daytona challenges not only the durability of the stock cars competing in the race, but also the mental and physical endurance of the drivers.

How Many Laps Is the Daytona 500?

The Daytona 500 consists of 200 laps around the track to reach the 500-mile mark. Considering that each lap around the track is approximately 2.5 miles, exactly 200 complete rotations around the four turns of the Daytona track adds up to 500 total miles traveled. Each green-flag lap takes 45 to 50 seconds to complete. The race is broken up into multiple stages each containing a specific number of laps. The first stage consists of 65 laps, as does the second. The third and final stage of the Daytona 500 is the longest, with 70 laps leading up to the big finish.

These stages are implemented in order to assess track conditions and assign scores to the 42 drivers competing in the race. The transitions between stages do not at all interrupt the flow of the race, instead the end of stages are as subtle as change in lap number, and once a certain number has been reached, drivers are given a score based on their finishing position at the end of each stage.

Is There Overtime in the Daytona 500?

Like any NASCAR race, the Daytona 500 will go to overtime if the scheduled race length is reached under caution. In this situation, a two-lap overtime is staged once the hazard has been cleared from the track. If the second lap of the overtime cannot be reached under green-flag conditions, additional overtimes will be added until the first lap of an overtime can be completed under green flag conditions and the leader is shown the white flag.

How Many Hours Does the Daytona 500 Last?

The average Daytona 500 lasts around three and a half hours. While this is the average time of a complete race, there are many variables that can affect this timeframe. Some such factors include accidents, warning laps, track condition, and potential overtime periods. The average speed of the drivers is also a major factor, as certain sections of the track require drivers to slow down, meaning that a constant speed cannot be maintained during the course of the race.

While not the longest event held at Daytona, which is the 24-hour Rolex 24, the 3.5-hour runtime of the Daytona 500 is nothing to scoff at. The 500-mile races are some of NASCAR’s most watched events, with the Daytona 500 being regarded as the most prestigious and most famous of all. Many fans will endure multiple hours under the scorching Florida sun just to view the race in person. Daytona has been described by some as the Super Bowl of NASCAR, and much like the Super Bowl, the run time of the race is as much about the spectacle around the event as it is about the race itself.


How long does the Daytona 500 last?

The Daytona 500 typically lasts for around three and a half hours in total. However, this is an estimate that changes with each year’s race. The Daytona 500 is always 500 miles over the course of 200 laps, but the amount of time the race takes will depend on the drivers and potential overtime periods can make competition last even longer.

How long is the Daytona 500 track?

The Daytona 500 track is 2.5 miles long. Daytona International Speedway hosts the race on its standard tri-oval track. The facility also features a 3.5-mile sports car track, a 2.9-mile motorcycle track, and a 1,320-foot flat-track for karting and motorcycle races, which are used to host other events.

How long was the longest Daytona 500 ever?

The longest Daytona 500 in history was run in 2023, covering 212 laps, for a total of 530 miles. The scheduled race ended under caution, prompting a two-lap overtime. A wreck during overtime caused a second overtime, after which Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was declared the winner in a photo finish. The double overtime and caution laps between the overtimes contributed to this record-setting race length.