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65th Running of the Daytona 500 Set to Be Legendary

NASCAR is BACK with the Daytona 500 coming up Sunday afternoon.

It’s an interesting juxtaposition when the NASCAR circuit makes it’s way to the fabled beaches of Daytona to kick off the season. The Daytona 500 is the biggest event of the year in the sport, yet instead of being at the end – NASCAR’s Super Bowl is the opener. A sold out crowd will be cheering on the drivers when they take the green on Sunday but there’s still a bit to cover between now and then. First, let’s talk about the field.

As always with the first race of the year, there are old faces in new places. One of the biggest stories from the off-season was Kyle Busch leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to take over the #8 car at Richard Childress Racing. Tyler Reddick left that #8 to join 23XI in the #45 car – replacing Kyle’s older brother Kurt who is taking a step back from the sport following an injury in 2022. Stepping into Kyle Busch’s old ride at JGR will be the grandson of owner Coach Joe Gibbs – Ty Gibbs. Check out the full list of teams hoping to win the Daytona 500 below:

EntryCar #DriverSponsorTeamManufacturerCrew Chief
11Ross ChastainAdventHealthTrackhouse RacingChevrolet CamaroPhil Surgen
22Austin CindricDiscount TireTeam PenskeFord MustangJeremy Bullins
33Austin DillonBass Pro ShopsRichard Childress RacingChevrolet CamaroKeith Rodden
44Kevin HarvickBusch BeerStewart-Haas RacingFord MustangRodney Childers
55Kyle LarsonHendrickCars.comHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet CamaroCliff Daniels
66Brad KeselowskiNEXLIZETRFK RacingFord MustangMatt McCall
77Corey LaJoieCelsiusSpire MotorsportsChevrolet CamaroRyan Sparks
88Kyle Busch3CHIRichard Childress RacingChevrolet CamaroRandall Burnett
99Chase ElliottNAPA Auto PartsHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet CamaroAlan Gustafson
1010Aric AlmirolaSmithfieldStewart-Haas RacingFord MustangDrew Blickensderfer
1111Denny HamlinFedExJoe Gibbs RacingToyota CamryChris Gabehart
1212Ryan BlaneyMenards / Blue Def / PEAKTeam PenskeFord MustangJonathan Hassler
1313Chandler SmithQuickTieKaulig RacingChevrolet CamaroEddie Pardue
1414Chase BriscoeMahindra TractorsStewart-Haas RacingFord MustangJohnny Klausmeir
1515Riley HerbstSUNNYDRick Ware RacingFord MustangBilly Plourde
1616AJ AllmendingerNutrien Ag SolutionsKaulig RacingChevrolet CamaroMatt Swiderski
1717Chris BuescherFastenalRFK RacingFord MustangScott Graves
1819Martin Truex Jr.Bass Pro ShopsJoe Gibbs RacingToyota CamryJames Small
1920Christopher BellDeWalt / RheemJoe Gibbs RacingToyota CamryAdam Stevens
2021Harrison BurtonMotorcraft / DEX ImagingWood Brothers RacingFord MustangBrian Wilson
2122Joey LoganoShell-PennzoilTeam PenskeFord MustangPaul Wolfe
2223Bubba WallaceMcDonald’s23XI RacingToyota CamryBootie Barker
2324William ByronRaptorTough.comHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet CamaroRudy Fugle
2431Justin HaleyCirkulKaulig RacingChevrolet CamaroTrent Owens
2534Michael McDowellLove’s Travel StopsFront Row MotorsportsFord MustangTravis Peterson
2636Zane SmithWellcareFront Row MotorsportsFord MustangChris Lawson
2738Todd GillilandGener8tor SkillsFront Row MotorsportsFord MustangRyan Bergenty
2841Ryan PreeceHAAS AutomationStewart-Haas RacingFord MustangChad Johnston
2942Noah GragsonWendy’sLEGACY MOTOR CLUBChevrolet CamaroLuke Lambert
3043Erik JonesGuns N’ RosesLEGACY MOTOR CLUBChevrolet CamaroDave Elenz
3145Tyler ReddickMonster Energy23XI RacingToyota CamryBilly Scott
3247Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Cottenelle / KrogerJTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet CamaroMike Kelley
3348Alex BowmanAlly FinancialHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet CamaroBlake Harris
3450Conor DalyBITNILE.comTMT RacingChevrolet CamaroTony Eury Jr.
3551Cody WareBiohaven/ Jacob Co.Rick Ware RacingFord MustangJerry Kelley
3654Ty GibbsMonster / Interstate BatteriesJoe Gibbs RacingToyota CamryChris Gayle
3762Austin HillBennett TransportationBeard MotorsportsChevrolet CamaroDarren Shaw
3867Travis PastranaBlack Rifle Coffee Company23XI RacingToyota CamryEric Phillips
3977Ty DillonFerris MowersSpire MotorsportsChevrolet CamaroKevin Bellicourt
4078BJ McLeodPower Slap / RumbleLive Fast MotorsportsChevrolet CamaroDavid Ingram
4184Jimmie JohnsonCarvanaLEGACY MOTOR CLUBChevrolet CamaroTodd Gordon
4299Daniel SuarezTootsie’s Orchid LoungeTrackhouse RacingChevrolet CamaroTravis Mack

A few names stand out on that list of drivers to be sure but none more-so than seven-time NASCAR Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson and legend of several disciplines, Travis Pastrana. Both Johnson and Pastrana entered speed-weeks as open cars – meaning they wouldn’t be guaranteed a spot in the field of 42. However, with their qualifying runs last night – they are now locked in to the Daytona 500 adding some serious star power to Sunday’s race.

The remaining four open car entries will attempt to race their way into the Daytona 500 at tonight’s Daytona Duel Qualifying races. Chandler Smith, Zane Smith, Conor Daly, and Austin Hill will need to finish at the front of the list of open cars in their respective Duels in order to guarantee a spot in Sunday’s field. This also means two of the drivers above will miss out on the chance to compete in the biggest race of the NASCAR season.

The Daytona 500 should feature a lot of double-wide pack racing. These superspeedway races tend to be unpredictable but if he’s able to stay out of trouble expect Denny Hamlin in the #11 to be near the front at the end. Some other drivers to watch will be the Hendrick front row of Kyle Larson in the #5 and Alex Bowman in the #48 as well as NASCAR’s elder statesman Kevin Harvick making his final Daytona 500 start as a full-time driver.

2022 featured some incredible action and I can’t wait to see what the 2023 season in NASCAR has in store.

Check out the schedule below to make sure you don’t miss any racing from Daytona this weekend.

Thursday 02/16

Bluegreen Vacations Duel (NASCAR Cup Series) – 6:00 PM CT on FS1

Friday 02/17

NextEra Energy 250 (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series) – 6:30 PM CT on FS1

Saturday 02/18

BRANDT 200 Supporting Florida FFA (ARCA Menard’s Series) – 12:30 PM CT on FS1

Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300 (NASCAR Xfinity Series) – 4:00 PM CT on FS1

Sunday 02/19

Daytona 500 (NASCAR Cup Series) – 1:30 PM CT on FOX



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