With 44 cars currently on the entry list for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season opener, there will be multiple drivers who miss the Daytona 500.
The 63rd annual Daytona 500 is scheduled to open up the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season just four weeks from today, and the entry list already contains well over 40 cars, which has been the limit for all Cup Series races since the 2016 season began.
This means that multiple drivers will ultimately fail to qualify for this 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked Daytona International Speedway oval in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Right now, there are 44 confirmed entries, meaning that at least four drivers will not get into the race.
Which drivers are actually at risk of missing the “Great American Race”?
A total of 36 entries are chartered entries, meaning that they are guaranteed to have a starting spot in the race. Any other entries must successfully qualify for the race to land one of the four remaining starting spots. There are currently eight entries set to battle for those four spots.
As of now, there are actually only 38 drivers confirmed for this year’s Daytona 500. However, that is a bit misleading, since only 32 of those 38 drivers are set to drive one of the 36 chartered entries, leaving four more chartered entries with guaranteed starting spots that simply don’t yet have confirmed drivers.
Spire Motorsports have not yet confirmed the driver for their second chartered entry, and Rick Ware Racing have confirmed only one driver for their four chartered entries.
That alone brings the provisional driver total to 42, and there are still two more confirmed non-chartered entries without confirmed drivers as well.
Regarding the non-chartered entries, here’s what we know so far.
Six of the eight confirmed non-chartered entries have confirmed drivers. Kaz Grala is set to drive the #16 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing, David Ragan is set to drive the #36 Ford for Front Row Motorsports, Ryan Preece is set to drive the #37 Chevrolet for JTG Daugherty Racing, Noah Gragson is set to drive the #62 Chevrolet for Beard Motorsports, Timmy Hill is set to drive the #66 Ford for MBM Motorsports and Chad Finchum is set to drive the #TBD Ford for MBM Motorsports.
The two non-chartered entries without confirmed drivers are the #44 Chevrolet for NY Racing Team and the #96 Toyota for Gaunt Brothers Racing. There could still be more confirmed entries over the next few weeks as well.
Regardless, only four of those non-chartered entries will successfully qualify for the race.
Single-car qualifying is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, February 10, and the Bluegreen Vacations Duels are scheduled to officially set the starting lineup the following evening before the Daytona 500 itself on Sunday, February 14.