NASCAR fans await decision on final vacant Daytona 500 seat

While there are currently 41 cars on the Daytona 500 entry list, only 40 have confirmed drivers for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season opener.
Riley Herbst, Rick Ware Racing, Daytona 500, NASCAR
Riley Herbst, Rick Ware Racing, Daytona 500, NASCAR / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 is less than three weeks away, and the entry list already consists of 41 cars.

This list includes five cars, all of which have confirmed drivers, that will have to battle for the final four spots in the 40-car field for the 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked Daytona International Speedway oval, and it may not be done growing yet.

But of the 41 cars currently confirmed for this year's "Great American Race", only 40 have confirmed drivers.

NASCAR charter car still without a driver

Rick Ware Racing have yet to announce who the driver of their No. 15 Ford will be for the season opener. Kaz Grala is set to compete part-time for the team in a majority of the races on the 2024 calendar, but he is set to drive a non-charter car for Front Row Motorsports in an attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500.

Cody Ware competed for the team as a full-time driver in last year's race, prior to his arrest and suspension, and has since been reinstated by NASCAR. But the team already signed Justin Haley to compete full-time in his place this year, and while Ware is expected to run a part-time schedule, that schedule is not slated to begin until April.

Riley Herbst remains a heavily rumored candidate to drive the No. 15 Ford, given the fact that he drove the car to a 10th place finish in last year's Daytona 500 -- his Cup Series debut.

There could still be other Daytona 500 entries added to the entry list before the event takes place, but the No. 15 Ford is particularly significant in that it is the final vacant seat among those locked into the race, since it is one of the 36 charter entries.

Of the other 35 charter entries, only one is set to be driven by a part-time driver in the Daytona 500. A.J. Allmendinger is set to drive Kaulig Racing's No. 16 Chevrolet. The other 34 all have full-time drivers.

Because there are already five going for four spots, no non-charter entries currently on the entry list -- or added to it -- will be automatically locked into the race. All non-charter entries must lock in either via the single-car qualifying session (Wednesday, February 14) or the Bluegreen Vacations Duels (Thursday, February 15; 7:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1).

NASCAR: New list paints a very chaotic picture as 2024 season nears. NASCAR: New list paints a very chaotic picture as 2024 season nears. dark. Next

Fox is set to broadcast the 66th annual Daytona 500 live from Daytona International Speedway beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 18. Begin a trial of FuboTV and watch for free!