NASCAR: 3 drivers most likely to miss the 2024 Daytona 500

Two drivers will fail to qualify for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500. Who will be left on the outside looking in?

Daytona 500, NASCAR
Daytona 500, NASCAR / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages
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The start of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season is right around the corner, with the 66th annual Daytona 500 scheduled to get things underway at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, February 18 (Fox, 2:30 p.m. ET; watch free here!).

There are 42 cars confirmed on the entry list for the 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked Daytona Beach, Florida oval, ensuring that two drivers who attempt to qualify will fail to do so.

There are ultimately four spots up for grabs -- two in the single-car qualifying session on Wednesday, February 14 (8:15 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1), and two in the Bluegreen Vacations Duels on Thursday, February 15 (7:00 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1) -- since the 36 charter entries are all already locked in.

Which drivers are most likely not to qualify for the "Great American Race"? Here are the top three candidates.

No. 3 - B.J. McLeod

B.J. McLeod is the obvious choice to miss out on this year's Daytona 500. From 2021 to 2023, his Live Fast Motorsports team always had a charter to ensure that they would be in the 40-car starting lineup.

But the No. 78 Chevrolet was regularly one of the slowest entries in the field, never posting a top 35 Daytona 500 qualifying speed. In fact, after a 31st place in the overall owner standings (among charter teams) in the team's first season, the No. 78 team regressed and finished in a distant last in both 2022 and 2023.

Now they have sold their charter to Spire Motorsports and are thus not guaranteed a spot in the Daytona 500. It is going to take a mega effort -- and likely some Duel chaos -- for them not to end up with a DNQ designation.