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NASCAR 2024 Daytona Speedweeks: An Opportunity for Potential Firsts

With this week set to mark the official commencement of the 2024 NASCAR season, the first wave of entry lists across NASCAR’s top three national touring series was revealed on Monday, February 12, as the registered teams and competitors prepare to ignite a new season of competition with a trio of season-opening events at Daytona International Speedway.

Currently, 38 competitors are registered to contend for 36 starting spots for this year’s Craftsman Truck Series season-opening Fresh from Florida 250 which is set to occur at Daytona this Friday, February 16. In addition, 44 competitors are registered for 38 starting spots for this year’s Xfinity Series season-opening United Rentals 300 which will follow suit on Saturday, February 17. Lastly, 42 competitors will contend for 40 starting spots for this year’s 66th running of the Daytona 500 which will occur on Sunday, February 18. For the 500, the entry list includes NY Racing’s No. 44 entry that has yet to have a driver set to compete in the ride throughout Daytona Speedweeks.

With each of the three national touring series entry lists featuring a mixture of new and familiar names, the common theme that all three lists share highlights a bevy of names who will contend for a first-time victory within their respective series either for this upcoming weekend at Daytona International Speedway or ever as the 2024 NASCAR season progresses.

For the Truck Series opener at Daytona, 27 of 38 registered competitors (full-time and part-time) currently have no victories logged within their resumes, which is 71% of the field. In addition, all but three participants have never won a Truck event at Daytona, which is 92% of the field.

Since the Truck Series first raced at Daytona’s 2.5-mile superspeedway venue in Daytona Beach, Florida, in 2000, 20 competitors have won at least once in the series at Daytona. The most recent was Zane Smith, the 2022 Truck Series champion who won the last two scheduled events at Daytona (2022 & 2023). With Smith set to compete in the Cup Series this season for Spire Motorsports and not registered in this year’s Truck list, the honorable mention of the most recent Daytona Truck winner for this season is Ben Rhodes, who won for the first time at Daytona in 2021 and is the reigning series champion. In addition to Rhodes, Grant Enfinger (2020) and Johnny Sauter (2013, 2016 & 2018) are the only other participants for this season who have previously won a Truck event at Daytona. Rhodes and Enfinger are full-time Truck Series competitors while Sauter is currently scheduled to compete in this weekend’s opener at Daytona as part of his part-time campaign with Niece Motorsports.

With Rhodes and Enfinger also set to bid for spots in this year’s Truck Series Playoff field, Corey Heim, a five-time race winner in the series who currently competes for TRICON Garage, headlines a long list of full-time competitors who have yet to win at Daytona for the first time as he also strives for another championship bid after falling short during last year’s Championship 4 battle. Among other notables include Christian Eckes, Ty Majeski and Matt Crafton, all of whom made the Playoffs during the previous season.

The Truck event at Daytona is also known to generate first-time winners, with the first occurrence dating back to 2002 when Robert Pressley won in his first series start. Since then, five other competitors (Michael Waltrip 2011, John King 2012, Tyler Reddick 2015, Kaz Grala 2017 and Austin Hill 2019) have accomplished this feat.

For this season, Toni Breidinger and Nick Sanchez headline a long list of names who have yet to win in the Truck circuit for the first time. Breidinger, who will be pulling double-duty efforts this weekend alongside her full-time campaign in the ARCA Menards Series with Venturini Motorsports, will pilot the No. 1 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro for TRICON Garage as part of a part-time campaign in the series while Sanchez, the reigning Rookie-of-the-Year recipient, returns to pilot the No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado RST for Rev Racing on a full-time basis. Other notables of potential first-time winners include Chase Purdy, Jake Garcia, brothers Tanner and Taylor Gray, Rajah Caruth, Daniel Dye and Dean Thompson, all of whom ended up in the top 20 in last year’s final standings. Corey LaJoie, a full-time Cup Series competitor for Spire Motorsports, is another notable who has yet to win in the Truck Series as he will pilot the No. 7 Chevrolet Silverado RST for Spire this Friday at Daytona.

With 38 registered competitors vying for 36 starting spots, however, two will not make the field, which will be determined following the series’ qualifying session that will occur on Friday, February 16, at 3 p.m. ET on FS1.

2024 Fresh from Florida 250 Entry List

For the Xfinity Series’ opener at Daytona, 30 of 44 registered competitors have yet to achieve a victory in the series, which is 68% of the field. In addition, all but three participants have yet to record an Xfinity victory at Daytona, which is 93% of the field.

Since the inception of the Xfinity Series and their first competition in 1982, 38 competitors have won at Daytona at least once. The list of competitors who have won at Daytona includes the season-opening event that spans 300 miles and the second event that occurs in late summer and currently spans 250 miles. This past season, Austin Hill notched his second consecutive Daytona opener win in February while Justin Allgaier edged Sheldon Creed by 0.005 seconds to notch his first victory at Daytona after 26 previous attempts. Hill and Allgaier are full-time competitors in the Xfinity circuit as both are set to campaign for additional bids to make the Playoffs and contend for the series’ championship.

This year, Cole Custer, the reigning Xfinity champion for Stewart-Haas Racing, headlines a bevy of competitors who will be pursuing one of two opportunities to win at Daytona for the first time. Other notables include Sam Mayer, Sammy Smith, Chandler Smith, Jeb Burton, Riley Herbst and Brandon Jones, all of whom finished in the top 15 in the final Xfinity driver’s standings last season.

Like the Truck Series, the pair of Xfinity events at Daytona is known to generate first-time winners, with eight competitors in total achieving the feat. Among the names include Dale Earnhardt (1982), Chad Little (1995), Tony Stewart (2005), James Buescher (2012), Ryan Reed (2015), Michael Annett (2019), Noah Gragson (2020) and Austin Hill (2022), all of whom made the accomplishment during the season-opening 300-mile event in February.

For the 2024 season, Jesse Love, the reigning ARCA Menards Series champion, headlines a bevy of competitors seeking a first Xfinity victory anywhere as he assumes the No. 2 Chevrolet Camaro for Richard Childress Racing for his inaugural full-time campaign in the series. Other notables include Sheldon Creed, Parker Kligerman, Parker Retzlaff, Ryan Sieg, Anthony Alfredo, Josh Williams, Kyle Sieg, Brennan Poole and Ryan Ellis, all of whom settled in the top 25 in the final driver’s standings in 2023.

Other notables who highlight the Xfinity opener’s entry list include Daniel Suarez, Hailie Deegan, Ryan Truex, John Hunter Nemechek, Sage Karam, Jordan Anderson, Frankie Muniz, Natalie Decker and Shane van Gisbergen, all of whom will either contend for either a first Xfinity win at Daytona, in general or combined.

With 44 competitors vying for 38 spots, six will not make the field, which will be determined following the series’ qualifying session that will occur on Saturday, February 17, at 11:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

2024 United Rentals 300 Entry List

Lastly for the Cup Series, 15 of 41 registered competitors have never won in NASCAR’s premier series, which is approximately 37% of the field. This excludes NY Racing’s No. 44 entry that has yet to be filled. In addition, 34 of 41 competitors have yet to win the Great American Race at least once, which is approximately 83% of the field.

During the previous 65 years of Cup Series competition, 42 competitors achieved at least one victory in the Daytona 500. The most recent newcomer added to this prestigious list was Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who capitalized during two overtime shootouts to emerge out in front amid a final lap multi-car wreck to win while driving for JTG-Daugherty Racing.

The competitor who headlines a long list of competitors who have yet to win the Daytona 500 is Martin Truex Jr., who will make his 20th career start in the Great American Race this season while also embarking on his 19th full-time season as a Cup competitor. To date, Truex’s best result in the 500 is second after he was edged by Denny Hamlin by 0.010 seconds in 2016, which marks the closest-recorded finish in the 500’s history. Additional notables include Kyle Busch (19th attempt in 2024), David Ragan (17th attempt), Brad Keselowski (15th attempt), Kyle Larson and AJ Allmendinger (both making 11th attempt), Ryan Blaney (10th attempt), Chris Buescher and Erik Jones (both making ninth attempt), and the trio Alex Bowman, Erik Jones and Corey LaJoie (all making eighth attempt).

Within the list of 42 names who have won the Daytona 500 at least once, a total of nine competitors scored a first Cup career victory in the Great American Race. The most recent to accomplish this feat was Austin Cindric, who made the accomplishment in 2022 during his eighth Cup career start and would proceed to both make the 2022 Playoffs and claim the Rookie-of-the-Year title. Previously, Michael McDowell notched his first Cup career victory in the 500 and his 358th series start after dodging a final lap multi-car wreck. Other notables to claim a first Cup career victory in the Daytona 500 include Tiny Lund (1963), Mario Andretti (1967), Pete Hamilton (1970), Derrike Cope (1990), Sterling Marlin (1994), Michael Waltrip (2001 and Trevor Bayne (2011).

This season, Josh Berry and Ty Gibbs headline a group of registered competitors who strive to strike two goals off their bucket lists including winning for the first time both in the 500 and the Cup Series. Other notables include Corey LaJoie, Noah Gragson, Riley Herbst, Harrison Burton, Daniel Hemric, Kaz Grala, Todd Gilliland, Ryan Preece, John Hunter Nemechek, Anthony Alfredo, Zane Smith, Carson Hocevar and BJ McLeod.

Alfredo, Grala and McLeod will have to contend against David Ragan, Jimmie Johnson and NY Racing’s No. 44 competitor for four vacant spots since they are registered as open-chartered competitors, meaning that two will not make this year’s 500 starting lineup. The Daytona 500 qualifying session will occur on Wednesday, February 14, and air at 8:15 p.m. ET on FS1 followed by a pair of Bluegreen Vacations Duels that will follow suit on Thursday, February 15, and air beginning at 7 p.m. ET on FS1, which will establish the official starting lineup for the 500.

2024 Daytona 500 Entry List

As the countdown to the official start of the 2024 NASCAR season reaches its final days and hours before commencement, a series of new chapters and new beginnings await for many who strive to gain an early advantage and etch their name as a winner in any series’ opener at the World Center of Racing.

The 2024 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season is set to commence at Daytona for the Fresh from Florida 250 on Friday, February 16, at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1 while the 2024 Xfinity Series season will follow suit for the United Rentals 300 on Saturday, February 17, at 5 p.m. ET on FS1. The 2024 Cup Series season will cap off the weekend by hosting the 66th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 18, at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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