Where the Daytona 500 entries now sit a month ahead of time

With the last couple of days, we’ve had some Daytona 500 announcements come forth. Last week, David Ragan was announced as the driver of the third entry for Front Row Motorsports. He will drive the unchartered No. 36 Ford with the team. On Wednesday, Kaulig Racing announced that Kaz Grala would drive the No. 16 Chevrolet for them in the Great American Race.

Now, Beard Motorsports announced the long anticipated move of Noah Gragson to the No. 62 Chevrolet for them for next month’s race as well.

Now, where do we sit in terms of entries? The race is exactly one month from today (Feb. 14). With the 36 chartered teams and these new announcements, we have 40 cars on the entry list. The JTG Daugherty Racing second car (No. 37 Chevrolet) should be piloted by Ryan Preece again but that car doesn’t have a charter either.

Chad Finchum and Timmy Hill appear to be back in the MBM entries. That puts us to 42.

I don’t think it stops there though. Penske could bring out a fourth car for Austin Cindric for the ‘500. We know they’re going to do so for select races already and the Daytona 500 would be a great start. You also have the NY Racing team that is rumored to have an interest in a Daytona 500 and possibly a full season program.  Then you have the Gaunt Brothers’ No. 96 Toyota. I haven’t heard of them closing down.

That’s three more open cars to get us up to nine to carry us to 45 cars for the Daytona 500. There’s then rumors about a few more teams that could show up too which could propel us to even more. I think the conservative number is 43 but I can see 44-45 showing up to Speedweeks next month with only 40 of them making the field.

Charter Teams

Chevrolet (14)

Hendrick Motorsports (4) – Chase Elliott is back through the 2022 season. William Byron and Alex Bowman each reached new deals with Byron through 2022 and Bowman through next season. Kyle Larson becomes the fourth driver.

Chip Ganassi Racing (2) – Kurt Busch is back in part of his multi-year deal with a new teammate in Ross Chastain.

Richard Childress Racing (2) – Tyler Reddick has already indicated that he’ll be back in 2021 with Austin Dillon as the teammate. There’s no reason to expand to a third car with their alliance with Trackhouse Entertainment Group and RPM still.

Spire (2) – The 77 will be back but they also purchased the assets to Leavine Family Racing too. LaJoie is in the newly branded the No. 7 Chevrolet entry with the 77 car to be announced soon.

Richard Petty Motorsports (1) – Erik Jones will drive this car in a new multi year deal.

JTG Daugherty Racing (1) – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is back in the No. 47 Chevrolet

Trackhouse Entertainment Group (1) – Daniel Suarez is the driver of the No. 99 Chevrolet.

StarCom Racing (1) – Quin Houff signed a two-year deal and will be back in 2021.

Ford (17)

Stewart-Haas Racing (4) – Three of their four drivers are back. Kevin Harvick has a deal through 2023, Aric Almirola has a one year extension while Cole Custer is back and I don’t see him leaving soon with who his dad is and his role with that team. Briscoe was announced as their driver in the 14.

Rick Ware Racing (4) – He has secured four charters but hasn’t named any drivers yet for any of the rides.

Team Penske (3) – All three drivers are back in 2021. Logano and Blaney have multi year deals with Keselowski reportedly working on a one year extension.

Roush Fenway Racing (2) – Both Ryan Newman and Chris Buescher are expected back.

Front Row Motorsports (2) – Michael McDowell and Anthony Alfredo will race full time for them in 2021.

Wood Brothers (1) – Matt DiBenedetto is back for 2021 before moving way to Austin Cindric for 2022.

Live Fast Motorsports (1) – BJ McLeod will drive the car for this new team. They’ll keep the alliance with SHR that Go Fas Racing did.

Toyota (5)

Joe Gibbs Racing (4) – Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. are all back for 2021. Christopher Bell slides in to replace Erik Jones in the No. 20 Toyota.

23XI (1) – Bubba Wallace

Non Charters Confirmed (4)

JTG Daugherty Racing (1) – Ryan Preece should be back in the No. 37 entry. Their charter was leased from Furniture Row Racing’s second car when they ended up closing shop but it’s not went elsewhere.

Front Row Motorsports (1) – David Ragan is in the No. 36 Ford

Beard Motorsports (1) – Noah Gragson was announced on Thursday to be driving the No. 62 Chevrolet

Kaulig Racing (1) – They’ll do more part time races in 2021 with the Daytona 500 being one of them. Kaz Grala will pilot the No. 16 Chevrolet in them.

Could Be Coming (5)

MBM (2) – Timmy Hill, Chad Finchum

Penske (1) – They’ll bring out a fourth car for Austin Cindric for some races and the Daytona 500 is rumored to possibly be one of them.

NY Racing (1) – This is a new rumored team on the horizon.

Gaunt Brothers (1) – They don’t have a driver but do have a car and I haven’t heard of them closing up shop.

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