Skip to content

The 2014 Daytona 500 Starting Grid, in full

Feb 22, 2014, 11:22 PM EDT

Budweiser Duel 2 Getty Images

So, today will mark the 2014 running of the Daytona 500. Here’s the starting grid, and a brief outlook for each of the 43 drivers competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener:

  • 1. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet. Rookie and big media story, but a simple top-10 will more than suffice as a realistic result for his debut. Anything more is a bonus.
  • 2. Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Chevrolet. Will drop to rear with a backup car. Has never won a restrictor-plate race but will enjoy a methodical race as he comes through the field in his Furniture Row Racing debut.
  • 3. Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota. Could well have won his Joe Gibbs Racing debut here last year, and could very easily win his third Daytona 500 on Sunday. If he does, it would be the first under normal race circumstances (2009 rain-shortened, 2012 rain-delayed til Monday).

    source: AP

    Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Hamlin. Photo: AP

  • 4. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota. The only thing holding him back from a Daytona Speedweeks sweep is history. Otherwise, the FedEx driver is odds-on favorite.
  • 5. Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Chevrolet. Consistent and under-the-radar, with few true “wow” moments thus far in his Hendrick career. Could make a statement with standout effort.
  • 6. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet. It hasn’t been 10 years since his third and most recent Daytona 500 win, but he could well pull off number four Sunday if he avoids the likely, inevitable “big one” that he’s been caught up in in recent restrictor-plate races.
  • 7. Marcos Ambrose, No. 9 Ford. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were talking about Richard Petty’s race team rather than his comments? If Ambrose runs well Sunday, we might.
  • 8. Kurt Busch, No. 41 Chevrolet. A win on his Stewart-Haas Racing debut would be a mild surprise, given it’s a new fourth team. But Busch is another who’s been too good to have not won the ‘500, and should be in contention until the waning stages.
  • 9. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Chevrolet. Big name. Ten years since his last Daytona 500 win. Winless in 2013. A win would provide a nice book-end to Speedweeks after the 3 took pole.
  • 10. Paul Menard, No. 27 Chevrolet. Solid sleeper pick, with RCR engines and a tendency to hang around the lead pack if he avoids being caught up in an accident.
  • 11. Josh Wise, No. 98 Ford. Underfunded Phil Parsons Racing team actually scored a top-10 here with Michael McDowell in 2013, and an encore with Wise would be a great story.
  • 12. Brian Scott, No. 33 Chevrolet. Like Menard, a good sleeper for RCR. But likely to lose fractions of time on pit lane, and it’s only his second career Cup start. Although that worked out rather well for Trevor Bayne in 2011…
  • 13. Aric Almirola, No. 43 Ford. Like Ambrose, would shift the conversation away from Petty’s mouth to his iconic number. But does he have the aggressiveness to contend if he’s in the frame late? Doubtful.
  • 14. Trevor Bayne, No. 21 Ford. The 2011 ‘500 winner is unlikely to repeat. He hasn’t done much in Cup since, and really could just use a solid top-10 or top-15 finish.
  • 15. AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Chevrolet. New team, new engines, new motivation for the driver who finished third here in 2009. Another sleeper who could overachieve.
  • 16. Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chevrolet. A superstar-in-waiting, but this won’t be his breakout.
  • 17. David Gilliland, No. 38 Ford. Team and driver are sneaky good on restrictor-plate tracks. He could end up in the top-10 late and you’ll ask yourself “where’d he come from?”
  • 18. Landon Cassill, No. 40 Chevrolet. He got hit by a bike, then made the race. Small team seeks to complete the race first, then go from there.
  • source: Getty Images

    Newman and Dillon. Photo: Getty Images

    19. Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet. Of RCR’s four cars, my likeliest contender. Knows his way to victory lane in the race, has the equipment, has the motivation.

  • 20. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Toyota. The definite favorite to win if a big one happens off Turn 4 on the last lap, because he’ll somersault or flip his way to victory.
  • 21. Tony Stewart, No. 14 Chevrolet. Would be a sentimental favorite if he pulls it off. Starts from the rear after an engine change.
  • 22. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet. Backup car set for the 2010 ‘500 winner, who has always run well on restrictor-plate tracks.
  • 23. Cole Whitt, No. 26 Toyota. Making the field was his victory, with no owner points on offer.
  • 24. Terry Labonte, No. 32 Ford. Happy to be in for his final ‘500 start, but will only score a result if he stays out of trouble.
  • 25. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford. Has had chance to win this race before, but needs that last little bit of luck and/or movement to actually pull it off.
  • 26. Bobby Labonte, No. 52 Chevrolet. Engine change means he’ll go to the rear. James Finch’s team has punched above its weight in restrictor-plate races, so that bodes well for the 2000 Cup champion.
  • source: Getty Images

    Stenhouse Jr. and Danica. Photo: Getty Images

    27. Danica Patrick, No. 10 Chevrolet. Engine change, and will go to the back. Always a story line, and we’re preparing in advance for the Internet exploding if a last-to-first race happens. Still, restrictor-plate races are her strong suit, and a top-10 is very possible.

  • 28. Casey Mears, No. 13 Chevrolet. Famous name, but little else in the way of luck or past success that portends a big run on Sunday.
  • 29. Alex Bowman, No. 23 Toyota. Literally nothing to lose for the 20-year-old in his Cup debut, in the sport’s biggest race. Bring it home on four wheels, and a possible top-20 beckons.
  • 30. Carl Edwards, No. 99 Ford. Like Roush Fenway teammate Biffle, close but no cigar in terms of Daytona victories. Has had a quiet Speedweeks thus far.
  • 31. Brian Vickers, No. 55 Toyota. A practice crash and bad Duel result have not been what Vickers needed in his return to a full-time Cup ride. Here’s hoping bad luck doesn’t come in threes.
  • 32. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet. The defending race and series champ has had a miserable Speedweeks, and it doesn’t matter. He’ll be coming on through the field.
  • 33. Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford. Like JJ in the spot ahead of him, you’d be a fool to bet against hearing from Brad on Sunday. Whether it’s the lead pack or not is still to be determined.
  • 34. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Ford. Danica’s boyfriend needs something else to be remembered for this Speedweeks, other than him crashing into her at the Sprint Unlimited.
  • 35. Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford. Two wrecks thus far this Speedweeks haven’t endeared Logano to the competition. Another case of “here’s to avoiding three.”
  • 36. Michael Annett, No. 7 Chevrolet. He’ll make his Cup debut, and has had thus far an anonymous Speedweeks. Not expecting that to change on Sunday.
  • 37. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota. The lead of the most dangerous late-grid row on the grid. The Truck race winner Friday night hasn’t yet had the marquee win of his 100-plus in his NASCAR career, and is going to factor into win contention.
  • source: Getty Images

    Harvick and son Keelan. Photo: Getty Images

    38. Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Chevrolet. Stewart-Haas debut plus extra motivation after RCR’s hogged the headlines in qualifying equals a hungry, hungry Harvick.

  • 39. Reed Sorenson, No. 36 Chevrolet. He’s back in Cup and he’s with likeable team owner Tommy Baldwin. Otherwise, not much to report here.
  • 40. Justin Allgaier, No. 51 Chevrolet. Like the other rookies, just wants to complete laps and potentially steal a result if he avoids trouble.
  • 41. Parker Kligerman, No. 30 Toyota. Great story, a great interview and due for a bit of luck after his crazy Wednesday and Thursday.
  • 42. Michael Waltrip, No. 66 Toyota. He doesn’t race often, but when he does, he’s the most interesting man to watch in the world of restrictor-plate racing.
  • 43. David Ragan, No. 34 Ford. He won Talladega last year – really! And he almost won the ‘500 a few years ago! You wouldn’t know it by the fact he hasn’t gotten much coverage this month, but another of those “sneaky good spoilers” if his car stays upright.

Latest Posts
  1. Alonso fastest in first practice for Chinese GP

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:32 PM EDT

    Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain arrives for a news conference ahead of the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit Reuters

    Spanish driver ends Mercedes streak of first place finishes, but teammate Kimi Raikkonen fails to post a time.

  2. NASCAR AMERICA: Can Gene Haas succeed with an American-based F1 team?

    Apr 17, 2014, 6:58 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    NBCSN’s Rick Allen and Kyle Petty discuss the expectations for Gene Haas as he looks to start a F1 team. The pair question whether an F1 team can be run successfully out of the United States.

  3. NASCAR AMERICA: Kyle Petty — Some of this year’s top rookies mark changing of the guard in NASCAR

    Apr 17, 2014, 6:51 PM EDT

    nascar america

    NBCSN’s Rick Allen and Kyle Petty discuss the emergence of some of this year’s top rookies on Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America. Petty says it is time for a changing of the guard, as many of today’s most successful drivers are nearing the end of their careers.

  4. Alabama Gang rides again with Justin Allison at Talladega

    Apr 17, 2014, 6:20 PM EDT

    The original Alabama Gang. Justin Allison is now the latest member of the gang, turning his first laps at legendary Talladega Superspeedway during an ARCA test there Tuesday and Wednesday. (Photo courtesy JustinAllisonRacing.com) The original Alabama Gang. Justin Allison is now the latest member of the gang, turning his first laps at legendary Talladega Superspeedway during an ARCA test there Tuesday and Wednesday. (Photo courtesy JustinAllisonRacing.com)

    The latest generation of NASCAR’s fabled Alabama Gang rode again in its debut Tuesday and Wednesday at Talladega Superspeedway. Justin Allison, grandson of Donnie Allison and grandnephew of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison, both original members of the Alabama Gang, took part in a two-day test of ARCA drivers at NASCAR’s largest oval track.

  5. Ford Racing has some fun to celebrate Mustang’s 50th anniversary (video)

    Apr 17, 2014, 5:32 PM EDT

    (Photo and video courtesy of Ford Racing) (Photo and video courtesy of Ford Racing)

    Whether you like it or not, you can’t say the Ford Mustang doesn’t have staying power. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this month, the Mustang has become one of the premier muscle car brands ever made by Detroit.

  6. NASCAR has shown outstanding parity through first eight races of 2014

    Apr 17, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT

    Kevin Harvick is the only two-time winner thus far in the first eight races of the 2014 Sprint Cup season. AP

    NASCAR chairman Brian France’s unwavering stance to bring parity to the sport during his 10-year tenure is finally paying dividends.

  7. VIDEO: Chinese GP Paddock Pass

    Apr 17, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    Alonso

    News and notes from the ground in China from NBCSN’s Will Buxton.

  8. BREAKING NEWS: Swan Racing’s future in NASCAR in question

    Apr 17, 2014, 3:17 PM EDT

    Swan Getty Images

    Just eight races into the Sprint Cup season, the future of the two-car Swan Racing team is looking rather murky, with the potential of everything from reorganization to scaling back involvement, if not outright shutting down.

  9. MotorSportsTalk’s predictions: Chinese GP

    Apr 17, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Previews Getty Images

    F1 heads to China with change in the wind, only making the predictions harder for our experts.

  10. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 p.m. ET — Gene Haas, Kyle Larson, Scan All 43

    Apr 17, 2014, 2:06 PM EDT

    140417-NASCAR-AMERICA

    Thursday on NASCAR AMERICA, the team will cover a lot of ground, including talking with NASCAR team owner Gene Haas about his foray into Formula One. Rick Allen and Kyle Petty man the anchor desk from our Charlotte studio. Remember to tune in at at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra for your online or mobile device.

  11. Long Beach weekend atmosphere thrills Roger Daltrey, as he promotes Teen Cancer America

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:24 PM EDT

    All photos: Honda/LAT All photos: Honda/LAT

    The Who founder and lead singer paid a visit to Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend, and soaked it all in while also raising awareness for Teen Cancer America.

  12. Young go-kart racer shows what true racing and determination is all about

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:05 PM EDT

    Screen-Shot-2014-04-17-at-2.25

    The Internet is like coming to a strange five-way intersection that you’ve never seen before. No matter which way you decide to go, you’re bound to find something new and different. So as we were looking for something else, we stumbled upon this video of 7-year-old go-kart racer Ryan Rifredi in a race from December…

  13. Button has faith in Haas Formula and second US GP

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Previews Getty Images

    2009 world champion believes that if anyone can make an American F1 team work, it’s Gene Haas.

  14. Vettel focusing on damage limitation in China

    Apr 17, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Previews Getty Images

    Defending world champion banking on a top five finish in China.

  15. Rosberg and Hamilton set to talk about Bahrain battle

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    Hamilton of Britain is congratulated by Rosberg of Germany on the podium after he won the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir Reuters

    Rosberg felt that Hamilton overstepped the mark with one of his moves in Bahrain.

  16. Alonso: We’re ready to fight back in China

    Apr 17, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Previews Getty Images

    After Stefano Domenicali’s departure, there’s a change in the wind at Ferrari.

  17. IMSA: Muscle Milk pulls out of TUDOR Championship; next move TBD

    Apr 17, 2014, 9:52 AM EDT

    2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona - Preview Getty Images

    Muscle Milk Pickett Racing withdraws from the TUDOR Championship, after previously announcing a temporary hiatus.

  18. 2014 Chinese Grand Prix Preview

    Apr 17, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Previews Getty Images

    The final eastern adventure until October looks to be a Mercedes game once again, but a number of other stories are set to define the weekend.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

More from NASCAR America

The new faces of NASCAR

Featured video

Paddock Pass: Inside the Chinese GP
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. McMurray (16643)
  2. K. Harvick (5692)
  3. M. McDowell (2905)
  4. C. Edwards (1504)
  5. A. Seuss (1287)