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.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”