NASCAR: The one team that won’t compete in the Daytona 500

Go Fas Racing, Daytona 500, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Go Fas Racing, Daytona 500, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

All but one team with plans to compete in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season are set to compete in the season-opening Daytona 500.

The 63rd annual Daytona 500 is scheduled to get the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season underway in just under four weeks.

The entry list for this event is already overflowing, guaranteeing that multiple drivers will ultimately fail to qualify for the 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked Daytona International Speedway oval in Daytona Beach, Florida in the Bluegreen Vacations Duels.

There are a total of 44 confirmed entries for this race among 23 teams (potentially 45 among 24 if Tommy Baldwin Racing field a car), and there are 40 available spots in the starting lineup.

However, 36 of those 40 spots are guaranteed to go to the 36 chartered entries, which are spread among 18 teams.

This means that there will be at least eight drivers battling for the final four spots and thus at least four who don’t make it.

But we already know one team that won’t make it, because they don’t plan to try.

There are currently 24 teams with plans to compete at some point in the 2021 season, and as noted above, there are currently 23 slated to compete in the Daytona 500.

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Even if Team Penske field a fourth car for reigning Xfinity Series champion Austin Cindric, which they plan to do in unspecified races this season, that would keep the total at 23 teams, given the fact that Roger Penske’s team also run three chartered entries for Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano.

The one team with plans to compete in 2021 but without plans to compete in the season opener is Go Fas Racing, which had competed as a full-time team for the last 10 years before scaling back to a part-time effort for the upcoming season.

The Archie St. Hilaire-owned team unloaded their charter after the 2020 season following the announcement that Corey LaJoie would not be back behind the wheel of the #32 Ford for what would have been a third consecutive season in 2021.

They announced plans to compete in five or six of the 36 races on the schedule, with Ryan Ellis likely to be their driver, but the Daytona 500 is not one of those races.

Of course, more teams could end up not making it into the race like Go Fas Racing, given the fact that they will be fielding non-chartered entries and thus battling just to secure one of the four remaining starting spots.

In fact, it’s guaranteed that at least one other team won’t make it, as the eight confirmed non-chartered entries are spread among seven teams, and five of those seven teams do not have any chartered entries locked into the field. So at most, 22 of the 23 teams planning to compete in the race will do so.

But Go Fas Racing unfortunately won’t even try, despite a team-best eighth place finish in the race with LaJoie last year.

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The single-car qualifying session for the race is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, February 10, and the Bluegreen Vacations Duels are scheduled to take place on Thursday, February 11. The race itself is scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 14.