If the field is not full for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500, it would end a streak that dates back more than half a century.
With just three confirmed non-chartered entries for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway thus far, there are only 39 cars lined up to compete in the race.
That could still change, with multiple entries having been rumored to join the three confirmed non-chartered entries: the # 27 Team Hezeberg powered by Reaume Brothers Racing Ford for Jacques Villeneuve, the # 62 Beard Motorsports Chevrolet for Noah Gragson, and the # 66 MBM Motorsports Ford for Timmy Hill.
But if it does not, we would be looking at the smallest ever field for this 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4,023-kilometer) high-banked oval in Daytona Beach, Florida.
All three non-chartered entries would presumably lock in, with four spots left open in addition to the 36 spots reserved for the chartered entries, and that would produce the first sub-40-car field in the history of the “Great American Race”.
It would also end a 53-year Daytona International Speedway streak.
Not only have none of the first 63 Daytona 500s featured fewer than 40 cars, but no Cup Series race – at all – at the Florida oval has featured fewer than 40 cars in more than a half-century.
The last time a race was run at the track with fewer than 40 cars was in July 1968, when 37 drivers contested the Firecracker 400.
To put that in perspective, only 10 Daytona 500s had ever been run before then. A total of 106 races have been contested there since.
But there is still time to avoid this disappointment and continue the streak. The Bluegreen Vacations Duels are scheduled to take place on Thursday, February 17 (7:00 pm ET, Fox Sports 1), and the 64th annual Daytona 500 is scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 20 (2:30 pm ET, Fox ). Will at least one more non-chartered entry be confirmed before then?