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.

Dodge to celebrate 50th anniversary of Hemi motor at NHRA U.S. Nationals

Photo courtesy Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
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When this year’s NHRA U.S. Nationals plays out from August 29 through September 3 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, a lot of folks are going to be channeling one of the most famous lines in motorsports:

“Hey, that thing got a Hemi?”

Dodge and parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Thursday – on National Hemi Day, no less – announced that it will celebrate the Hemi’s 50th anniversary of Super Stock cars with the 18th annual Dodge Hemi Challenge during the U.S. Nationals.

Cars that will take part in the Challenge will be 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda cars – “The most iconic of the Mopar package cars,” touted a Dodge press release – in a head-to-head battle.

The Dart and Barracuda were purpose built for use solely on a drag strip. The 23 entrants in the Challenge will drive their personally owned versions of the ’68 ‘Cuda and Dart.

The winner of the Challenge – which will be held August 30-31 – will take home a $15,000 purse, while cash rewards will be available for all 16 drivers that qualify for final eliminations.

“The Dodge brand is proud to serve as title sponsor of the NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge, an event that spotlights the legacy and power of the 426 HEMI engine,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America.

Beahm added, “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Super Stock cars that debuted back in 1968 and are still competing today, which makes our support of this edition of the HEMI Challenge extra special.”

One special incentive for contestants is the 42.6-pound NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge trophy, created in the spirit of the 426 (cubic inch) HEMI engine.

Jimmy Daniels has won the Challenge the last two years and goes for a three-peat in this year’s race within a race. His father, Jim Daniels, won the race in 2010.

The Challenge’s all-time winningest driver is Charlie Westcott Jr. of Parma, Michigan, who captured the Challenge in six different years: 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

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