The 2022 season just ended, but attention is shifting to the 2023 Daytona 500. The February race always has numerous entries, but this lineup will be stacked with multiple guest drivers joining the full-timers.
There are multiple teams that have yet to announce whether they will try to compete in the Daytona 500 with non-chartered entries, but some have showcased their plans. Front Row Motorsports will have an entry for Zane Smith, Petty GMS will have an entry for Jimmie Johnson, and Beard Motorsports will have an entry for Austin Hill.
Johnson has 19 starts in the Daytona 500, and he will make his 20th while trying to add another Crown Jewel to his collection. Smith and Hill, for comparison, have never taken on the superspeedway race.
Smith’s lone Cup Series start was at World Wide Technology Raceway as he replaced Chris Buescher, who had a positive COVID-19 test. Hill made his Cup Series debut at Michigan International Speedway while driving for Richard Childress Racing.
Multiple Other ‘Open’ Teams Could Compete
Along with the confirmed entries for Petty GMS, Beard Motorsports, and Front Row Motorsports, there are some others that could attempt to make the field for the 2023 Daytona 500.
Team Hezeberg, NY Racing, and TMT Racing all made the field in 2022 with Jacques Villeneuve, Greg Biffle, and Kaz Grala as the respective drivers. All three could return in 2023 with more notes about the Next Gen car, along with MBM Motorsports, which failed to make the field with its two entries.
Another intriguing team to watch hails from Germany. 3F Racing (3Friends Racing) announced its existence on August 3. The team founded by Dennis Hirtz and Paul Wiedeler has plans to compete part-time in the Cup Series, as well as the ARCA Menards Series and Craftsman Truck Series.
3F Racing has not confirmed that it will compete in the Daytona 500, nor has it revealed any information about its driver lineup. Though Christopher Tate revealed on Instagram that he will make starts for the team in the ARCA Menards Series and Craftsman Truck Series.
Another team to watch is Team Stange. The Chicago-based racing organization was supposed to make its debut during the 2022 Cup Series season with Tarso Marques controlling the No. 79 Ford Mustang.
Team Stange had an original schedule that started with the trip to Road America and included eight total races. The team did not ultimately make any starts in the Cup Series, but it has already begun to drop teases about the 2023 season.
An Indy 500 Champ Will Likely Compete
One of the biggest questions heading toward the Daytona 500 focuses on a veteran competitor from another racing series. Will four-time Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves make his long-awaited NASCAR debut?
Castroneves made a deal in 2022 with SRX Series CEO Don Hawk. If he won one of his limited starts in the SRX Series, Hawk would use his connections to get him a seat for a race at Daytona International Speedway. Castroneves delivered the win at Five Flags Speedway after holding off both Ryan Newman and Bubba Pollard.
Castroneves does not yet have a seat for the Daytona 500, but there is one possible option. Trackhouse Racing’s Project91 will compete in six to eight races in 2023 while providing opportunities for international drivers. One of these events is the Daytona 500, and team owner Justin Marks has acknowledged that a partnership with Castroneves could be a possibility.