Wednesday, May 25, 2022
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Making the Field: 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500

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How to make the field for the 2022 Daytona 500 open cars
There are six open cars vying for four positions in the 2022 Daytona 500 field. Here is how they all can make the sport’s biggest race.

After a long off-season, the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season is just about ready to get underway, with one of the most unique qualifying formats that you’ll see across NASCAR’s top-three series, all season long.

The Daytona 500, noted as one of NASCAR’s marquee events, will use a single-car qualifying session to decide the two drivers that will start on the front row for Sunday’s 500-mile event.


RELATED: Preliminary Entry List: 2022 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway


From there, the race’s 42 entrants will be split into two duel races based on their qualifying speed, where they’ll race to determine who will start what position for “The Great American Race”. Duel #1 will set the inside row, while Duel #2 will set the outside row.

By virtue of holding a NASCAR Cup Series charter, there are 36 drivers and teams that are 100-percent certain that they’ll be in the show come Sunday, those drivers/teams include:


CHARTERED ENTRIES – LOCKED INTO DAYTONA 500:

  • No. 1 – Ross Chastain – Trackhouse Racing
  • No. 2 – Austin Cindric – Team Penske
  • No. 3 – Austin Dillon – Richard Childress Racing
  • No. 4 – Kevin Harvick – Stewart-Haas Racing
  • No. 5 – Kyle Larson – Hendrick Motorsports
  • No. 6 – Brad Keselowski – RFK Racing
  • No. 7 – Corey LaJoie – Spire Motorsports
  • No. 8 – Tyler Reddick – Richard Childress Racing
  • No. 9 – Chase Elliott – Hendrick Motorsports
  • No. 10 – Aric Almirola – Stewart-Haas Racing
  • No. 11 – Denny Hamlin – Joe Gibbs Racing
  • No. 12 – Ryan Blaney – Team Penske
  • No. 14 – Chase Briscoe – Stewart-Haas Racing
  • No. 15 – David Ragan – Rick Ware Racing
  • No. 16 – Daniel Hemric – Kaulig Racing
  • No. 17 – Chris Buescher – RFK Racing
  • No. 18 – Kyle Busch – Joe Gibbs Racing
  • No. 19 – Martin Truex Jr. – Joe Gibbs Racing
  • No. 20 – Christopher Bell – Joe Gibbs Racing
  • No. 21 – Harrison Burton – Wood Brothers Racing
  • No. 22 – Joey Logano – Team Penske
  • No. 23 – Bubba Wallace – 23XI Racing
  • No. 24 – William Byron – Hendrick Motorsports
  • No. 31 – Justin Haley – Kaulig Racing
  • No. 34 – Michael McDowell – Front Row Motorsports
  • No. 38 – Todd Gilliland – Front Row Motorsports
  • No. 41 – Cole Custer – Stewart-Haas Racing
  • No. 42 – Ty Dillon – Petty GMS Motorsports
  • No. 43 – Erik Jones – Petty GMS Motorsports
  • No. 45 – Kurt Busch – 23XI Racing
  • No. 47 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – JTG Daugherty Racing
  • No. 48 – Alex Bowman – Hendrick Motorsports
  • No. 51 – Cody Ware – Rick Ware Racing
  • No. 77 – Landon Cassill – Spire Motorsports
  • No. 78 – BJ McLeod – Live Fast Motorsports
  • No. 99 – Daniel Suarez – Trackhouse Racing

The remaining six teams – not listed above — are known as the ‘open entries’ and will fill the final four spots in the field for Sunday’s Daytona 500. Those entries are as follows:

  • No. 27 – Jacques Villenueve – Team Hezeberg
  • No. 44 – Greg Biffle – NY Racing
  • No. 50 – Kaz Grala – The Money Team Racing
  • No. 55 – JJ Yeley – MBM Motorsports
  • No. 62 – Noah Gragson – Beard Motorsports
  • No. 66 – Timmy Hill – MBM Motorsports

To make the 64th Daytona 500 on Sunday, ‘open entries’ can either race their way in through the Bluegreen Vacations Duels on Thursday, or fall back on their speed from Wednesday’s single-car qualifying session.

On Wednesday, the two ‘open entries’ that are able to record the fastest times will be given a guarantee, that they’ll race in Sunday’s 500-mile event. However, this qualifying lap won’t guarantee the position they’ll start.

Thursday’s pair of 60-lap duel races will set the starting lineup for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series season-opener, while also officially determining who will be sent back to North Carolina, early.

In each duel race, the top finishing ‘open entry’ will automatically be locked into the 2022 Daytona 500, while also earning their official starting spot based on where they finished in the sprint race.

Once the two drivers that have raced their way into the field are determined, the fastest two ‘open entries’ from Wednesday’s single-car qualifying session that didn’t race their way into the field, will officially get the 39th and 40th starting positions in the race.

Therefore, in order for a driver/team to fall back on their qualifying speed, they will need to avoid being among the slowest two ‘open entries’ on Wednesday night.


No. 27 – Jacques Villenueve – Team Hezeberg Powered by RBR

PC: @VilleneuveNews | Twitter

STATUS: Jacques Villeneuve posted the second-fastest lap of the six ‘open entries’ in single-car qualifying on Wednesday, meaning he is locked in. However, the 50-year-old can still earn a solid starting position, by virtue of a strong finish in his duel race.


No. 44 – Greg Biffle – NY Racing Team

PC: @NASCARPaint | Twitter

STATUS: Greg Biffle posted the fourth-fastest time of the six open entires in single-car qualifying on Wednesday, a lap not fast enough to guarantee his spot into the field.

In order to qualify for the 2022 Daytona 500, Biffle must be the highest finishing open entry in his duel race or have BOTH Gragson and Villeneuve be the highest open entries in their respective duel races, to fall back on his qualifying speed.


No. 50 – Kaz Grala – TMT Racing

PC: @tmtracing50 | Twitter

STATUS: Kaz Grala posted the third-fastest time of the six open entries in single-car qualifying on Wednesday, a lap not fast enough to guarantee his spot into the field.

In order to qualify for the 2022 Daytona 500, Grala must be the highest finishing open entry in his duel race or have EITHER Gragson OR Villeneuve be the highest open entry in their duel race, in order to fall back on his qualifying speed.


No. 55 – JJ Yeley – MBM Motorsports

PC: RJ Starcevic | TobyChristie.com

STATUS: JJ Yeley posted the fifth-fastest time of the six open entries in single-car qualifying on Wednesday, a lap time that won’t guarantee his spot into the field, and won’t be available to fall back on. If Yeley is hoping to qualify for the 2022 Daytona 500, he’ll have to be the highest finishing open entry in his duel race.


No. 62 – Noah Gragson – Beard Motorsports

PC: RJ Starcevic | TobyChristie.com

STATUS: Noah Gragson posted the quickest time of the six open entries in Wednesday’s single-car qualifying session at Daytona, ensuring that Gragson and Beard Motorsports will be locked into the field on Sunday.

However, the full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series driver can still improve upon his starting position in Thursday’s Bluegreen Vacations Duel, by recording a solid finish.


No. 66 – Timmy Hill – MBM Motorsports

PC: Timmy Hill | Twitter

STATUS: Timmy Hill – much like his MBM Motorsports teammate JJ Yeley — sits in a precarious position, and a straightforward one at that, with the No. 66 posting the slowest time of all the open entires in single-car qualifying.

If Hill wants to make the Daytona 500, he’ll have to be the highest finishing open entry in his duel race, which will require him to race against teams that have shown more speed.

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Joseph Srigley
Joseph Srigleyhttp://tobychristie.com
University of Windsor | Business Administration - Supply Chain & Data Analytics Editor at TobyChristie.com

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