There are a total of 44 confirmed entries for the Daytona 500 race which will happen on February among 23 teams (potentially 45 among 24 if Tommy Baldwin Racing field a car), and there are 40 available spots in the starting lineup.
This means that there will be at least eight drivers battling for the final four spots and thus at least four who don’t make it. But we already know one team that won’t make it, because they don’t plan to try.
There are currently 24 teams with plans to compete at some point in the 2021 season, and as noted above, there are currently 23 slated to compete in the Daytona 500.
Even if Team Penske field a fourth car for reigning Xfinity Series champion Austin Cindric, which they plan to do in unspecified races this season, that would keep the total at 23 teams, given the fact that Roger Penske’s team also run three chartered entries for Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano.
The one team with plans to compete in 2021 but without plans to compete in the season opener is Go Fas Racing, which had competed as a full-time team for the last 10 years before scaling back to a part-time effort for the upcoming season.
The Archie St. Hilaire-owned team unloaded their charter after the 2020 season following the announcement that Corey LaJoie would not be back behind the wheel of the #32 Ford for what would have been a third consecutive season in 2021.
They announced plans to compete in five or six of the 36 races on the schedule, with Ryan Ellis likely to be their driver, but the Daytona 500 is not one of those races.
Of course, more teams could end up not making it into the race like Go Fas Racing, given the fact that they will be fielding non-chartered entries and thus battling just to secure one of the four remaining starting spots.
In fact, it’s guaranteed that at least one other team won’t make it, as the eight confirmed non-chartered entries are spread among seven teams, and five of those seven teams do not have any chartered entries locked into the field. So at most, 22 of the 23 teams planning to compete in the race will do so.
But Go Fas Racing unfortunately won’t even try, despite a team-best eighth place finish in the race with LaJoie last year.