NASCAR driver, team returning to Atlanta after missing Daytona 500

B.J. McLeod and Live Fast Motorsports failed to qualify for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500, but they are back for the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

B.J. McLeod, Live Fast Motorsports, Daytona 500, NASCAR
B.J. McLeod, Live Fast Motorsports, Daytona 500, NASCAR / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages
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With the 36 charter cars locked into the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway and 42 cars on the entry list, there were effectively six cars going for the four open spots in the 40-car field.

Beard Motorsports' Anthony Alfredo and RFK Racing's David Ragan locked into the 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked Daytona Beach, Florida oval on speed during the single-car qualifying session, and Legacy Motor Club's Jimmie Johnson and Front Row Motorsports' Kaz Grala raced their way in via the Bluegreen Vacations Duels.

NY Racing Team's J.J. Yeley and Live Fast Motorsports' B.J. McLeod both failed to qualify for the "Great American Race".

Despite failing to qualify for the Daytona 500, Live Fast Motorsports are set to return for this weekend's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

B.J. McLeod, Live Fast Motorsports locked into Atlanta NASCAR race

Of the six non-charter entries vying for the final four spots in the Daytona 500 field, the No. 78 Chevrolet is the only car set to return for this Sunday afternoon's Ambetter Health 400.

With just 37 cars on the entry list, McLeod and Live Fast Motorsports were locked into the 260-lap race around the four-turn, 1.54-mile (2.478-kilometer) Hampton, Georgia oval even before qualifying on Saturday. Field sizes are capped at 40 cars for all Cup Series races, not just the Daytona 500.

This marks Live Fast Motorsports' first ever Cup Series start without a charter. The McLeod and Matt Tifft-owned team entered the Cup Series in 2021 with a charter they had acquired from the now defunct Go Fas Racing, but they sold it to Spire Motorsports following the 2023 season for a record sum of roughly $40 million, giving Spire Motorsports the means to expand from two cars to three.

Given the fact that McLeod ran as high as third place in his Bluegreen Vacations Duel before a wreck ultimately ended his bid to qualify for the Daytona 500, Atlanta Motor Speedway is an ideal spot for him and the team to make their first start of 2024.

Since its repave and reconfiguration following its two races in 2021, the track has driven much more like a superspeedway (such as Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway) than a typical mile-and-a-half oval.

Can McLeod and the team take advantage of the wild card/equalizer nature of the event? Live Fast Motorsports' two top 10 finishes have both come with McLeod behind the wheel at a superspeedway.

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The Ambetter Health 400 is scheduled to take place at Atlanta Motor Speedway this Sunday, February 25 at 3:00 p.m. ET, with Fox set to provide live coverage. Start a free trial of FuboTV now and don't miss it!

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