44 teams to attempt to qualify for the 63rd Annual Daytona 500

The 2021 Daytona 500 marks the 63rd annual Great American Race in Daytona Beach, FL. This year, 44 teams are entered in the Daytona 500, up one from 2020. On Wednesday night, the top-two drivers in qualifying will determine the front row starting positions for Sunday’s race. The Thursday night Bluegreen Vacations Duels will split the field in two with Duel 1 setting the inside column of the starting lineup and Duel 2 setting the outside line.

There are eight teams that will have to qualify or race their way into the Daytona 500 at the risk of being sent home. Four will make it, four will not:

#13 – Garrett Smithley
#16 – Kaz Grala
#33 – Austin Cindric
#36 – David Ragan
#37 – Ryan Preece
#62 – Noah Gragson
#66 – TBA
#96 – Ty Dillon

Among these eight teams, the top finisher in each Duel race will qualify for the Daytona 500, then the two fastest qualifiers who did not race their way in will take the final two starting spots.

Austin Cindric is driving a 4th Team Penske Ford to attempt his NASCAR Cup Series debut. The 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion will be the first of several Cup starts for Cindric in 2021 before he is set to take over the #21 for Wood Brothers Racing in 2022. Noah Gragson is another Xfinity Series driver trying to make his Cup debut. He will drive the #62 Beard Motorsports Chevrolet, taking over for fellow Las Vegas native Brendan Gaughan who retired in the 2020 season. Gragson and his team will be racing with heavy hearts as team owner and president Mark Beard passed away late in the offseason.

Ryan Preece and Ty Dillon were both locked into the 2020 Daytona 500 but they will have to endure the qualifying hurdles for different reasons. Dillon’s team, Germain Racing, folded at the end of the 2020 season, leaving Dillon stuck in free agency before signing a multi-race deal with charter-less Gaunt Brothers Racing. Dillon is registered for Xfinity Series points as he is scheduled to run part-time for Joe Gibbs Racing. Preece’s JTG Daugherty Racing team lost their charter to Spire Motorsports. The team still intends to run most, if not all of the 2021 season.

David Ragan will attempt his 15th consecutive Daytona 500 running a 3rd Front Row Motorsports entry. His full-time career ended after 2019, but he ran last year’s Daytona 500 in a car fielded by Rick Ware Racing with Front Row support. He won’t be the only driver returning after an absence of full-time Cup racing. A couple of former Daytona 500 champions, Derrike Cope (1990) and Jamie McMurray (2010), are both locked into the event in the chartered #15 Rick Ware Racing and #77 Spire Motorsports entires, respectively. This will be Cope’s first Cup race since 2018 and McMurray’s first since the 2019 Daytona 500.

Full Daytona 500 Entry List:
00Quin HouffStarCom RacingChevroletMane 'n Tail
1Kurt BuschChip Ganassi RacingChevroletMonster Energy
2Brad KeselowskiTeam PenskeFordDiscount Tire
3Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet
4Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFordBusch Light
5Kyle LarsonHendrick MotorsportsChevroletNationsGuard
6Ryan NewmanRoush Fenway RacingFordKohler Generators
7Corey LaJoieSpire MotorsportsChevroletYoutheory
8Tyler ReddickRichard Childress RacingChevrolet
9Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevroletNAPA Auto Parts
10Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas RacingFordSmithfield
11Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
12Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFordMenards
Blue DEF
13Garrett Smithley (i)MBM MotorsportsFordTrophy Tractor
14Chase BriscoeStewart-Haas RacingFordHighPoint.com
15Derrike CopeRick Ware RacingChevrolet
16Kaz GralaKaulig RacingChevrolet
17Chris BuescherRoush Fenway RacingFordFastenal
18Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyotaM&M's
19Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyota
20Christopher BellJoe Gibbs RacingToyotaDEWALT
21Matt DiBenedettoWood Brothers RacingFordMotorcraft
Quick Lane
22Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFordShell Pennzoil
23Bubba Wallace23XI RacingToyota
24William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevroletAxalta
33Austin Cindric (i)Team PenskeFordVerizon 5G
34Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFordLove's Travel Stops
36David RaganFront Row MotorsportsFord
37Ryan PreeceJTG Daugherty RacingChevroletCottonelle
38Anthony AlfredoFront Row MotorsportsFordSpeedy Cash
41Cole CusterStewart-Haas RacingFordHaasTooling.com
42Ross ChastainChip Ganassi RacingChevroletClover
43Erik JonesRichard Petty MotorsportsChevroletArmor All
47Ricky Stenhouse Jr.JTG Daugherty RacingChevroletKroger
NOS Energy Drink
48Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevroletAlly
51Cody WarePetty Ware RacingChevrolet
52Josh BilickiRick Ware RacingFord
53Joey GaseRick Ware RacingFord
62Noah Gragson (i)Beard MotorsportsChevroletBeard Motorsports
South Point
66TBAMBM MotorsportsFord
77Jamie McMurraySpire MotorsportsChevroletAdventHealth
78BJ McLeod (i)Live Fast MotorsportsFord
96Ty Dillon (i)Gaunt Brothers RacingToyotaBass Pro Shops
Black Rifle Coffee
99Daniel SuarezTrackHouse RacingChevroletiFly

(i) – does not receive points in the NASCAR Cup Series

Fun Fact of the Week: Every number between #1 and #24 is represented in the 2021 Daytona 500 entry list. This is the longest sequential streak of numbers in the entry list of a modern era Daytona 500 (1972-present) since 2000 when #’s 1-18 were entered. Derrike Cope was entered to drive the #15 car in both Daytona 500’s.

Author: Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey (@TomBaileyScoop) grew up in the backyard of Chicagoland Speedway, making a passion for all motorsports inevitable. Tom is entering his first full year of racing coverage in 2020 as the owner and founder of InfieldScoop.com. You can contact him at [email protected]

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