DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – One year after having exactly enough cars to fill the field at Daytona Int’l Speedway, a stout field of 43 entries will attempt to qualify for this year’s Daytona 500.
Thirty-six of the cars entered are guaranteed to start the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season opener on Feb. 17, thanks to NASCAR’s charter system. That group is led by reigning Cup Series champion and 2015 Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano, one of three Team Penske entries for the race.
Logano’s teammates, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney, are both seeking their first Daytona 500 victory. Blaney led the most laps – 118 – during last year’s event.
In contrast, eight previous Daytona 500 winners will take aim at hoisting the Harley J. Earl Trophy again this year during Speedweeks.
Two-time Daytona 500 champion Jimmie Johnson (2006, ’13) heads the list of winners, with single victors Kevin Harvick (’07), Ryan Newman (’08), Jamie McMurray (’10), Logano, Denny Hamlin (’16), Kurt Busch (’17) and defending winner Austin Dillon also entered.
Three of those drivers – Newman, McMurray and Busch – are with new teams this year. Newman moves over to Roush Fenway Racing from Richard Childress Racing, while McMurray pilots the No. 40 for Spire Motorsports in his final scheduled Cup start and Kurt Busch fills the seat of the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet vacated by McMurray.
Other notables in new places include 2016 Daytona 500 runner-up Martin Truex Jr., debuting for Joe Gibbs Racing in the No. 19 Toyota; Daniel Suarez, who takes over Busch’s former ride at Stewart-Haas Racing; and Matt DiBenedetto, in for Leavine Family Racing.
The seven Open drivers who will have to race their way into the Daytona 500 are Casey Mears, Tyler Reddick, Brendan Gaughan, Joey Gase, Ryan Truex, Parker Kligerman and Tanner Berryhill, who announced sponsorship from WAVE Sports on Wednesday.
Daytona 500 rookies in this year’s field include Daniel Hemric and Reddick for Richard Childress Racing, Matt Tifft for Front Row Motorsports, Ryan Preece for JTG Daugherty Racing and B.J. McLeod for Rick Ware Racing.
To view the complete entry list, advance to the next page.