Probable 2012 Daytona 500 Entry List
 
With an off-season filled with many free agents, many drivers have found new rides for the upcoming year.  
Photo by Greg Hildebrand / Flickr.com


By Dominic Aragon
TheRacingExperts.com Reporter
theracingexperts@aol.com
2/112012


The Daytona 500 is now just two weeks away. The entry list is set thirteen days in advance of any race. To give you, the fan, an idea of what to expect for Speedweeks, we have taken a look at all the drivers and teams set to travel to Daytona over this off-season.

As we did last year, here is our list of the presumable Daytona 500 Entry List. A count as high as 54 drivers may show up to practice, pole-day qualify, and race the Gatorade Duels. With 35 teams already locked in, nineteen non-locked in drivers will vie for eight coveted spots.

Key:
Green = Car is locked into the Daytona 500
Black = Car is NOT locked into the Daytona 500
* = See Below. A list of possible drivers to run that particular car in the Daytona 500 can be found below.

 

The following cars will be in Daytona later this month to run the Daytona 500.
Confirmed Daytona 500 Rides:


1 – Jamie McMurray
2 – Brad Keselowski
5 – Kasey Kahne
6 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
7 – Robby Gordon
9 – Marcos Ambrose
09 – Kenny Wallace
10 – Danica Patrick
11 – Denny Hamlin

13 – Casey Mears
14 – Tony Stewart
15 – Clint Bowyer
16 – Greg Biffle
17 – Matt Kenseth
18 – Kyle Busch
20 – Joey Logano
21 – Trevor Bayne
22 – A.J. Allmendinger
23 – Robert Richardson Jr.
24 – Jeff Gordon
27 – Paul Menard
29 – Kevin Harvick
30 – David Stremme
31 – Jeff Burton
32 – Ken Scrader

33 – Elliott Sadler
34 – David Ragan
36 – Dave Blaney
37 – *
38 – David Gilliland
39 – Ryan Newman                                                                                                                                

40 - Michael Waltrip                                                                                                                                                 42 – Juan Montoya
43 – Aric Almirola
47 – Bobby Labonte
48 – Jimmie Johnson

49 – J.J. Yeley
51 – Kurt Busch
52 – *
55 – Mark Martin
56 – Martin Truex Jr.
78 – Regan Smith
83 – Landon Cassill

87 – Joe Nemechek
88 – Dale Earnhardt Jr.
98 – Michael McDowell
93 - *
99 – Carl Edwards



The following list shows cars that may or may not show up to attempt the Daytona 500.
Questionable Rides for the Daytona 500
26 - *
57 – Norm Benning
71 -
  
75 – Derrike Cope
92 – Brian Keselowski
97 - Kevin Conway


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26 – Front Row Motorsports
Bob Jenkins has poured millions of personal dollars into his race team. FRM in 2011 had to start using their third car to start and park for funding. He is bringing a third car to the track presumably for the full schedule in 2012 that will likely pull it in early for most events. 

Possible drivers for the No. 26:
Driver: Travis Kvapil
Likelihood: Likely
Kvapil has ran with the team since late 2009. Despite the lack of success, he has shown muscle at superspeedways. He may be in the car come Daytona.

 

Driver: Brian Vickers
Likelihood: Questionable
Brian Vickers is arguably the most decorated free agent at this time. With less than three weeks to Daytona, his plans are questionable for the Cup Series. He could be considered a candidate to run for FRM this season.

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32 – FAS Lane Racing
This team was founded by veteran crew chief Frank Stoddard in early 2011. Making 35 of the 36 races on the Cup circuit with its main car, the team finished a team best 15th in the Daytona 500 with Terry Labonte.

Possible drivers for the No. 32:
Driver: Terry Labonte
Likelihood: Likely
Labonte was one of the eight drivers to run for FAS Lane Racing in 2011. He ran all of the team’s Super Speedway races last season. With backing from C&J Energy last year, Labonte is the leading candidate to again drive the No. 32 car in the Daytona 500 for FLR with backing from the Texas sponsor.
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Driver: Ken Schrader
Likelihood: Questionable
Schrader was another veteran driver who raced for the team last year. His ling time sponsor Federated Auto Parts already has pledged nine races with the team in 2012. Although his first scheduled race at Las Vegas in March, he shouldn’t be ruled out on running the Great American Race.

Driver: Mike Bliss
Likelihood: Questionable
Mike Bliss almost half the schedule for FAS Lane in 2011. The driver who kept the team inside the top-35 may earn the ride for the Daytona 500.

Driver: Geoff Bodine
Likelihood: Doubtful
Geoff Bodine returned to the Cup Series for four races in 2011 with financial backing. Luke and Associates has said they would like to sponsor more races for Bodine wherever he lands in 2012. Although Bodine has never run for FAS Lane Racing, Frank Stoddard may be looking for a driver who can bring money with him.

 

37 – Max Q Motorsports
The team is owned by Larry Gunselman. Although Gunselman stated last in 2011 Josh Wise would be running for rookie of the year in 2012, there are now reports saying the team is considering a few drivers.

Possible drivers for the No. 37:
Driver: Mike Skinner
Likelihood: Likely
Skinner ran a few races for the team toward the end of the year. Making the races on time, he could be running this car to try and lock it into the Daytona 500.

Driver: Josh Wise
Likelihood: Questionable
Word was Josh Wise would be a Rookie of the Year contender for 2012, but that is looking questionable. With his limited experience, Gunselman may be hesitant to have him in his car for Speedweeks.

 

 

Driver: Landon Cassill
Likelihood: Questionable
Landon is a free agent after running a majority of Phoenix Racing’s 2011 races. Rumor has it he may run a car that has a top-35 locked-in status via Team Red Bull. If that doesn’t pan out, he may be in the No. 37.


52 – Hamilton-Means Racing
As we first told you about the team’s plans for 2012, former Cup driver Jimmy Means plans to run a Cup program along with his Nationwide schedule. There are questions if the team will even show up for the Daytona 500, but if they do, some possible drivers that might be considered are below.

Driver: Brian Vickers
Likelihood: Questionable
Vickers is a well-known free agent this season. HMR might consider him to try to attempt to make the Daytona 500 this season with a well-known driver.

 

Driver: Kevin LePage
Likelihood: Doubtful
LePage has run for Means’ Nationwide program on and off the past few years. LePage has not attempted a Cup race since August 2010 and has not raced in a Cup race since 2007. Although this is unlikely, HMR could go with the driver who has piloted their Nationwide ride.

71, 93 – New Team
After competing full-time in the Sprint Cup Series since 2009, TRG will not be going to Daytona with owner Kevin Buckler.  It is reported that some individuals who have ownership in the team have acquired Team Red Bull equipment including the owner points, but a team name has yet to be announced.

Driver: Brian Vickers
Likelihood: Very Likely
The team Vickers helped got off the ground a few years back may in fact keep him, at least for the Daytona 500.

 

Driver: Cole Whitt
Likelihood: Questionable
Cole Whitt raced the 2011 in the Truck Series and even led the points race early on. He ran two Cup races at the end of the season for TRB. Even though Whitt was no stranger to go-or-go home qualifying, he could be running at least the Daytona 500 for the team. Former GM Jay Frye expressed interest for him to run Cup races in 2012.

 

97 – NEMCO Motorsports
Since the resurrection of Joe Nemechek’s NEMCO Motorsports in Cup in 2009, the team has usually fielded one car for the season with the exceptions of restrictor plate races. The No. 97 car showed up to the track four times in 2011, making three of the events with Kevin Conway. Conway has said he does have something lined up for 2011, but those plans are yet to be announced.

Driver: Kevin Conway
Likelihood: Very Likely
If the No. 97 car shows up in Daytona, there is strong favorability for having Kevin Conway in the car. Although he barely missed making the 500 last year, he made all other races he attempted in the No. 97 with comfortable qualifying runs. Conway can also bring funding from ExtenZe.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.



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