3 cars without drivers for the Daytona 500
Of the confirmed entries for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500, three are still without confirmed drivers.
Multiple Daytona 500 confirmations earlier this week brought the total number of entries to 41 for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season opener, meaning at least one driver will fail to qualify for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season opener. Great American Race next month.
Five of those 41 entries are non-chartered entries, and only four non-chartered entries will lock into the 40-car field for the 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) Daytona. Oval International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. These five entries have confirmed pilots.
However, there are still three confirmed entries that do not have confirmed drivers for this race: the #78 Live Fast Motorsports Chevrolet, the #15 Rick Ware Racing Ford and the #51 Rick Ware Racing Ford.
Because these three NASCAR Cup Series entries are charter entries, they are all locked into the Daytona 500, regardless of who ends up behind the wheel.
Live Fast Motorsports co-owner BJ McLeod is likely to get the nod to drive the No. 78 Chevy, just as he has done in each of the last two Daytona 500s since the McLeod and Matt-owned team Tifft entered the Cup Series. In fact, the only oval races he has missed since the team entered the sport are dirt races at Bristol Motor Speedway.
As for Rick Ware Racing’s two entries, the #51 Ford seems likely to have Cody Ware back behind the wheel. Ware, who competed full-time in the Cup Series for the first time last year, could very well be confirmed as the 34th full-time driver for the 2023 season.
Even if he only competes part-time, it’s unlikely anyone else will be driving the #51 Ford in the Daytona 500.
As for Ford #15, anyone can guess. David Ragan, Garrett Smithley and JJ Yeley are considered the most likely candidates to drive this entry in the Daytona 500, but Rick Ware Racing hasn’t announced anything about their plans for 2023 other than the fact that they now have a technical alliance. with RFK Racing instead of Stewart-Haas Racing.
Single-car qualifying for the Daytona 500 is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Feb. 15, followed by the Bluegreen Vacations head-to-heads on Thursday, Feb. 16. The race itself is set to air live from Daytona International Speedway on Fox starting at 2:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, February 19.