NASCAR: Daytona 500 development spells bad news for one team (and maybe more)

The Money Team Racing joining the Daytona 500 entry list would all but guarantee that at least one NASCAR Cup Series team will have a car fail to qualify.
Justin Haley, Conor Daly, Alex Bowman, Daytona 500, NASCAR
Justin Haley, Conor Daly, Alex Bowman, Daytona 500, NASCAR / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

After several years of rumors, the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-owned The Money Team Racing finally made their NASCAR Cup Series debut in the Daytona 500 back in 2022. After running four races throughout the 36-race season, they returned to the Daytona 500 in 2023 and ran another race at Circuit of the Americas.

The Money Team Racing are reportedly looking at returning to Daytona International Speedway for the 66th annual "Great American Race" around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked Daytona Beach, Florida oval, though the entry has not yet been confirmed.

If the No. 50 Chevrolet is confirmed on the entry list for this race, it would become the fourth confirmed non-chartered entry. With the field size capped at 40 cars, only four non-chartered entries can compete alongside the 36 chartered entries, which are all locked in.

Thus far, the list of non-chartered entries includes the No. 60 RFK Racing Ford for David Ragan, the No. 62 Beard Motorsports Chevrolet for Anthony Alfredo, and the No. 78 Live Fast Motorsports Chevrolet for B.J. McLeod. So the addition of the No. 50 Chevrolet would not officially guarantee that somebody misses the Daytona 500.

But that is effectively what it would do, putting several NASCAR teams in danger of having a driver miss the Daytona 500

Legacy Motor Club have not yet confirmed the No. 84 Toyota for Jimmie Johnson, but it is expected that the two-time Daytona 500 winner will attempt to qualify for his second Daytona 500 as a non-Hendrick Motorsports driver -- and first with Toyota following his team's surprising offseason manufacturer switch.

The Daytona 500 was not on AdventHealth's list of races for the No. 84 Toyota as a primary sponsor, but that does not mean that this race will not end up being on Johnson's schedule. His 2023 season, which marked his return to the Cup Series following his "retirement" and a two-year stint in IndyCar, was ultimately cut short due to a family tragedy over the summer.

Provided that the No. 84 Toyota is indeed added, the addition of the No. 50 Chevrolet would bring the entry total to 41, five of which non-chartered.

There is no word yet on whether any other two-car teams, such as 23XI Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Kaulig Racing, Trackhouse Racing Team, and Rick Ware Racing, will expand to three cars. Several of them have done so for this race in the past.

Of course, if a team does end up having a car fail to qualify for the Daytona 500, that team could very well end up being The Money Team Racing, which would keep them out of the race altogether. Part-time, single-car teams, especially newer ones, always face a much steeper uphill battle to lock in. Beard Motorsports, for example, completely missed the race in 2023.

But it would be unwise to bet against Mayweather's team. They faced long odds to qualify for the race in both 2022 and 2023 after missing out on locking in via the single-car qualifying session, but they managed to do so in the Bluegreen Vacations Duels.

In 2022, Kaz Grala pulled off a last-lap move to lock himself into the race, and in 2023, Conor Daly, driving a wounded race car, persevered through the issue and took advantage of a wreck involving several of the other non-chartered entries.

Next. NASCAR: 3 drivers now at risk as Daytona 500 entry list grows. NASCAR: 3 drivers now at risk as Daytona 500 entry list grows. dark

Daytona 500 single-car qualifying is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, February 14, and the Bluegreen Vacations Duels are scheduled to take place on Thursday, February 15. The race itself is scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 18, and it is set to be broadcast live on Fox beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. Begin a free trial of FuboTV and don't miss any of the action!