NASCAR team returning after unlikely Daytona 500 feat

Conor Daly, The Money Team Racing, Daytona 500, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Conor Daly, The Money Team Racing, Daytona 500, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

A NASCAR Cup Series team that wasn’t supposed to qualify for the Daytona 500 somehow managed to pull it off, and now they are back for more.

The Money Team Racing and Conor Daly weren’t supposed to qualify for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Daly himself had already bought a plane ticket for Los Angeles for after the Bluegreen Vacations Duels.

After a mechanical issue kept Daly from making a qualifying attempt in the single-car qualifying attempt and another issue surfaced on the pace laps of his Duel race, it was looking fairly obvious that the full-time IndyCar driver was not going to be making his Daytona 500 debut this year.

The Money Team Racing as a whole faced an uphill battle to get into the race. Entering the year, the very young team had made just four total Cup Series starts, including one in last year’s Daytona 500 after Kaz Grala needed to make a clutch last lap pass in his Duel race to get into the field.

And with all due respect, unlike Grala, Daly didn’t have the luxury of beating a backmarker team in MBM Motorsports to qualify for the race.

But both drivers Daly needed to finish ahead of were involved in a wreck, and he got to make his Daytona 500 debut because of it.

Now he and the team are set to return to the NASCAR Cup Series.

The No. 50 Chevrolet is set to compete in the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas this coming Sunday afternoon, with Daly once again behind the wheel.

Last year’s race at Circuit of the Americas was one of the four races on The Money Team Racing’s schedule, and they finished in 25th place with Grala behind the wheel.

Aside from this year’s Daytona 500, Daly’s only other Cup Series start came last October, when he drove the No. 50 Chevrolet at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. He finished in 34th place.

The team’s all-time best finish is Grala’s 23rd place finish in last year’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, their only oval race thus far aside from their two Daytona 500 starts.

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Tune in to Fox at 3:30 p.m. ET this Sunday, March 26 for the live broadcast of the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix from Circuit of the Americas. Start a free trial of FuboTV if you have not already done so!