The NASCAR season kicks off with the 61st running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday. 

WFLA’s Dan Lucas spoke with many of the drivers at Media Day and the goal at Daytona is always to get a life-changing win.

Few trophies in sports rival the massive Harley J. Earl. And that’s just one of the fruits if you can win the Daytona 500.

“After winning it, you respect it more than what you did before you win it, because you see all media and fanfare,” said 2016 champion Denny Hamlin.

“It’s definitely its own race set apart from the season. And all we want to do is win,” said driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Yes, Daytona is different. Even a young driver knows what happens if you can make it to victory lane. And the key word is “if.” A perfect race strategy can be wiped out in less than a second. 

Driver Chris Buescher finished fifth in last year’s race. What did he earn? Knowledge on how to aim even higher.

“It’s hard enough to finish the 500. We’ve been able to put ourselves in position. Really that’s the key. If you’re there enough, then you’ll be able to capitalize on it one of these times,” said Buescher.

Buescher finished 22nd in Daytona 500 front row qualifying last Sunday. So, like a lot of these drivers he hopes to have a strong effort in Thursday night’s qualifying races to put himself in a good starting position for the Daytona 500.