Preliminary Daytona 500 entry list

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Most of the pieces are in place for the field for this year’s Daytona 500. An unofficial list of those confirmed to compete in the race are below, with a handful of other notes to follow. We’ll break it down by manufacturer:

Chevrolet (22):

  • Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates: 1-Jamie McMurray, 42-Kyle Larson (R)
  • Richard Childress Racing: 3-Austin Dillon (R), 27-Paul Menard, 31-Ryan Newman, 33-Brian Scott
  • Stewart-Haas Racing: 4-Kevin Harvick, 10-Danica Patrick, 14-Tony Stewart, 41-Kurt Busch
  • Hendrick Motorsports: 5-Kasey Kahne, 24-Jeff Gordon, 48-Jimmie Johnson, 88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  • Tommy Baldwin Racing: 7-Michael Annett (R), 36-Reed Sorenson
  • Germain Racing: 13-Casey Mears
  • JTG Daugherty Racing: 47-AJ Allmendinger
  • HScott Motorsports: 51-Justin Allgaier (R), 52-Bobby Labonte
  • Furniture Row Racing: 78-Martin Truex Jr.
  • Phil Parsons Racing: 98-Josh Wise

Ford (15):

  • Team Penske: 2-Brad Keselowski, 22-Joey Logano
  • Richard Petty Motorsports: 9-Marcos Ambrose, 43-Aric Almirola
  • Roush Fenway Racing: 16-Greg Biffle, 17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 99-Carl Edwards
  • Wood Brothers: 21-Trevor Bayne
  • Go Fas Racing: 32-Terry Labonte
  • Front Row Motorsports: 34-David Ragan, 35-Eric McClure, 38-David Gilliland
  • Randy Humphrey Racing: 77-Dave Blaney
  • Brian Keselowski Motorsports: 92-Brian Keselowski
  • Leavine Family Racing: 95-Michael McDowell

Toyota (12):

  • Joe Gibbs Racing: 11-Denny Hamlin, 18-Kyle Busch, 20-Matt Kenseth
  • Michael Waltrip Racing: 15-Clint Bowyer, 55-Brian Vickers, 66-Michael Waltrip*, 87-Joe Nemechek*
  • BK Racing: 23-Alex Bowman (R), 83-Ryan Truex (R), 93-Morgan Shepherd**
  • Swan Racing: 26-Cole Whitt (R), 30-Parker Kligerman (R)

*Denotes that Waltrip and Nemechek will be sharing No. 66 in MWR/Jay Robinson Racing partnership for the remainder of the season. Nemechek is expected to qualify for the Daytona 500 in his own No. 87 Toyota.

**Shepherd’s No. 93 is from BK Racing, but not run by the team.

There are at least two other cars that could be added to the above entries. Landon Cassill, who has been reported to return with Circle Sport Racing, would have to qualify in the team’s No. 40 Chevrolet with Brian Scott of RCR using No. 33 for the 500. Meanwhlile J.J. Yeley wrote on his Facebook page he has a confirmed Cup ride, but said details would need to wait.

We’re looking at roughly between 48 to 51 cars attempting to qualify for the 43 spots in this year’s Daytona 500. The official entry list should be out late next week, as Daytona Speedweeks begins.

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Ed Carpenter

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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.

Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

  • 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
  • 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish

Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.

While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.

Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.

Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.

In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.