Daytona 500, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
With more than 40 cars on the entry list for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500, somebody will miss the race.
The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season is scheduled to begin with the 65th annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, February 19, with single-car qualifying scheduled to take place on Wednesday, February 15 and the Bluegreen Vacations Duels qualifying races scheduled to take place on Thursday, February 16.
A total of 40 cars will qualify for the 200-lap race at the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked Daytona Beach, Florida oval, including all 36 chartered entries and four of the non-chartered entries.
With more than 40 cars on the entry list for this year’s running of the Great American Race — more specifically, more than four non-chartered entries on the entry list — this means that somebody will attempt to qualify for the race but ultimately fail to do so.
So far, there are five confirmed non-chartered NASCAR Cup Series entries for the Daytona 500.
Those five cars are the No. TBD Front Row Motorsports Ford, the No. 13 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet, the No. 62 Beard Motorsports Chevrolet, the No. 67 23XI Racing Toyota, and the No. 84 Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet.
The Front Row Motorsports Ford is set to be driven by Zane Smith, the No. 13 Chevrolet is set to be driven by Chandler Smith, the No. 62 Chevrolet is set to be driven by Austin Hill, the No. 67 Toyota is set to be driven by Travis Pastrana, and the No. 84 Chevrolet is set to be driven by Jimmie Johnson.
At least one of these drivers won’t ultimately get the chance to compete in the season opener. That number could still rise, since more cars can still be added to the entry list before it becomes official.
Two of the four drivers who lock themselves in will do so by finishing the single-car qualifying session in the top two on the speed chart (among the non-chartered entries).
The other two will lock themselves in by finishing in the highest position among the drivers of non-chartered entries in their respective Duel qualifying races (one driver from the first race and another from the second).
In the event that a driver technically locks in twice, his second spot goes to the next fastest driver in the single-car qualifying session (again, among the non-chartered entries), not necessarily the next highest finisher in his Duel race.