Drivers competing in the 2018 Daytona 500
Drivers competing in the 2018 Daytona 500
By The Associated Press
Feb. 16, 2018
The 40 drivers competing in the 2018 Daytona 500, in order of starting position:
No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
DRIVER: Alex Bowman
BORN: April 25, 1993
HOMETOWN: Tucson, Arizona
CREW CHIEF: Greg Ives
NOTEWORTHY: "Bowman the Showman" landed pole in return to 88. Bowman filled in for injured star Dale Earnhardt Jr. for 10 races in 2016, and Earnhardt stumped for Bowman to replace him after retirement.
No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing
DRIVER: Denny Hamlin
BORN: Nov. 18, 1980
HOMETOWN: Chesterfield, Virginia
CREW CHIEF: Mike Wheeler
SPONSOR: FedEx Express
NOTEWORTHY: 2016 Daytona 500 champion. Won closest finish in race history over Martin Truex Jr.
No. 12 Ford, Team Penske
DRIVER: Ryan Blaney
BORN: Dec. 31, 1993
HOMETOWN: High Point, North Carolina
CREW CHIEF: Jeremy Bullins
NOTEWORTHY: Won first career Cup race last season at Pocono. Social media darling makes jump from Wood Brothers to Penske Racing and forms three-car lineup with Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.
No. 9 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
DRIVER: Chase Elliott
BORN: Nov. 28, 1995
HOMETOWN: Dawsonville, Georgia
CREW CHIEF: Alan Gustafson
SPONSOR: NAPA Auto Parts
NOTEWORTHY: Son of Hall of Famer Bill Elliott. Started from pole in previous two Daytona 500s. Much-hyped prospect winless in 77 starts, but won qualifying races in each of last two years.
No. 22 Ford, Team Penske
DRIVER: Joey Logano
BORN: May 24, 1990
HOMETOWN: Middletown, Connecticut
CREW CHIEF: Todd Gordon
SPONSOR: Shell Pennzoil
NOTEWORTHY: Followed runner-up finish in points with disappointing 17th last year. The 2015 Daytona 500 winner had single win of season not count toward making playoffs because of rules violation.
No. 4 Ford, Stewart-Haas Racing
DRIVER: Kevin Harvick
BORN: Dec. 8, 1975
HOMETOWN: Bakersfield, California
CREW CHIEF: Rodney Childers
SPONSOR: Jimmy John's
NOTEWORTHY: Won 2007 Daytona 500 with Richard Childress Racing. Entering fifth year with Stewart-Haas Racing, where he has 14 victories.
No. 43 Chevrolet, Richard Petty Motorsports
DRIVER: Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr.
BORN: Oct. 8, 1993
HOMETOWN: Mobile, Alabama
CREW CHIEF: Drew Blickensderfer
SPONSOR: Click n' Close
NOTEWORTHY: First black driver to start Daytona 500 since Wendell Scott in 1969. Made four Cup starts in 2017 for RPM.
No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing
DRIVER: Erik Jones
BORN: May 30, 1996
HOMETOWN: Byron, Michigan
CREW CHIEF: Chris Gayle
NOTEWORTHY: Spent 2017 on loan to Furniture Row Racing. Now replaces Matt Kenseth at Gibbs. Had five top-five finishes in first full Cup season.
No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
DRIVER: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
BORN: Oct. 2, 1987
HOMETOWN: Olive Branch, Mississippi
CREW CHIEF: Brian Pattie
NOTEWORTHY: Won first two races of Cup career in 2017, winning at Talladega in May and Daytona in July. No longer dating driver Danica Patrick.
No. 14 Ford, Stewart-Haas Racing
DRIVER: Clint Bowyer
BORN: May 30, 1979
HOMETOWN: Emporia, Kansas
CREW CHIEF: Mike Bugarewicz
SPONSOR: Rush Truck Centers
NOTEWORTHY: Made strides in first year at Stewart-Haas Racing. Still winless since 2012, yet posted first top-five finishes in two years and most (six) since 2013. Winless in 12 Daytona 500 starts.
No. 41 Ford, Stewart-Haas Racing
DRIVER: Kurt Busch
BORN: Aug. 4, 1978
HOMETOWN: Las Vegas
CREW CHIEF: Billy Scott
SPONSOR: Haas Automation/Monster Energy
NOTEWORTHY: Defending Daytona 500 champion looking to become fourth driver to win "The Great American Race" in back-to-back years. No one has accomplished feat since Sterling Marlin in 1995. Struggled following biggest win of career and failed to win another race. Led only 16 laps in 2017. Missed 2015 race because of suspension.
No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing
DRIVER: Kyle Busch
BORN: May 2, 1985
HOMETOWN: Las Vegas
CREW CHIEF: Adam Stevens
NOTEWORTHY: 2015 Cup Series champion has yet to win Daytona 500, a streak that stands at 12. Runner-up in points last season behind champion Martin Truex Jr. Won five races in 2017.
No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
DRIVER: Ryan Newman
BORN: Dec. 8, 1977
HOMETOWN: South Bend, Indiana
CREW CHIEF: Luke Lambert
SPONSOR: Bass Pro Shops/Cabela's
NOTEWORTHY: 2008 Daytona 500 winner. Snapped 127-race winless streak at Phoenix in 2017. Seven top-five finishes last year were most since 2011.
No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
DRIVER: Austin Dillon
BORN: April 27, 1990
HOMETOWN: Welcome, North Carolina
CREW CHIEF: Justin Alexander
NOTEWORTHY: Won Coke 600 in 2017, his first Cup Series victory. Finished 11th in standings last year, best finish in four seasons.
No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports
DRIVER: David Ragan
BORN: Dec. 24, 1985
HOMETOWN: Unadilla, Georgia
CREW CHIEF: Seth Barbour
NOTEWORTHY: Won only Cup races in 2011 and 2013. Has managed one top-five finish last four years. Finished sixth at Daytona in July 2017.
No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers
DRIVER: Paul Menard
BORN: Aug. 21, 1980
HOMETOWN: Eau Claire, Wisconsin
CREW CHIEF: Greg Erwin
SPONSOR: Omnicraft Auto Parts/Quick Lane Tire
NOTEWORTHY: One win in 399 Cup starts. Winless since taking checkered flag at Brickyard 400 in 2011, a streak that's reached 232 races.
No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing
DRIVER: Daniel Suarez
BORN: Jan. 7, 1992
HOMETOWN: Monterrey, Mexico
CREW CHIEF: Scott Graves
NOTEWORTHY: One of two non-American drivers in field. Won Xfinity Series title in 2016, becoming NASCAR's first foreign champion.
No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
DRIVER: Trevor Bayne
BORN: Feb. 19, 1991
HOMETOWN: Knoxville, Tennessee
CREW CHIEF: Matt Puccia
NOTEWORTHY: One of 10 former Daytona 500 winners in field. Won 2011 race in first career Cup start.
No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing
DRIVER: Jamie McMurray
BORN: June 3, 1976
HOMETOWN: Joplin, Missouri
CREW CHIEF: Matt McCall
NOTEWORTHY: Won 2010 Daytona 500, same year he also won Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. Has just one victory in 257 races since that season.
No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing
DRIVER: AJ Allmendinger
BORN: Dec. 16, 1981
HOMETOWN: Los Gatos, California
CREW CHIEF: Tristan Smith
SPONSOR: Kroger ClickList
NOTEWORTHY: Has one victory, on road course at Watkins Glen in 2014. Scored only one top-five finish in 2017.
No. 37 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing
DRIVER: Chris Buescher
BORN: Oct. 29, 1992
HOMETOWN: Prosper, Texas
CREW CHIEF: Trent Owens
NOTEWORTHY: Entering third full-time season. Only win came in rain-shortened race in 2016. Had four top-10s in 2017.
No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports
DRIVER: Michael McDowell
BORN: Dec. 21, 1984
HOMETOWN: Glendale, Arizona
CREW CHIEF: Derrick Finley
SPONSOR: Love's Travel Stops
NOTEWORTHY: Winless in 249 Cup starts. Finished fourth in 2017 Daytona 500, the only top-five of his career.
No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing
DRIVER: Ty Dillon
BORN: Feb. 27, 1992
HOMETOWN: Lewisville, North Carolina
CREW CHIEF: Matt Borland.
NOTEWORTHY: Younger brother of Austin Dillon. Grandson of team owner Richard Childress. Married to former Charlotte Hornets cheerleader Haley Carey.
No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing
DRIVER: Martin Truex Jr.
BORN: June 29, 1980
HOMETOWN: Mayetta, New Jersey
CREW CHIEF: Cole Pearn
SPONSOR: Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats
NOTEWORTHY: 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion. Won series-high eight races. Had 19 top-five finishes, 26 top-10s and posted an average finish of 9.4.
No. 62 Chevrolet, Beard Motorsports
DRIVER: Brendan Gaughan
BORN: July 10, 1975
HOMETOWN: Las Vegas
CREW CHIEF: Darren Shaw
SPONSOR: Beard Oil Distributing/South Pointe Hotel
NOTEWORTHY: Winless in 54 Cup starts. Makes second straight Daytona 500 start. Played college football and basketball at Georgetown, guarding Allen Iverson on practice court and becoming all-Big East kicker on gridiron.
No. 95 Chevrolet, Leavine Family Racing
DRIVER: Kasey Kahne
BORN: April 10, 1980
HOMETOWN: Enumclaw, Washington
CREW CHIEF: Travis Mack
NOTEWORTHY: Won Brickyard 400 for Hendrick Motorsports last year. Unceremoniously dumped by HMS with one year left on contract. Winless in 28 starts at Daytona International Speedway, including 0 for 14 in 500.
No. 00 Chevrolet, StarCom Racing
DRIVER: Jeffrey Earnhardt
BORN: June 22, 1989
HOMETOWN: Mooresville, North Carolina
CREW CHIEF: Tony Furr
SPONSOR: VRX Simulators
NOTEWORTY: Grandson of late NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt and nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Keeps alive streak of having an Earnhardt in Daytona 500 for 40th consecutive year.
No. 7 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports
DRIVER: Danica Patrick
BORN: March 25, 1982
HOMETOWN: Roscoe, Illinois
CREW CHIEF: Tony Eury, Jr.
NOTEWORTHY: Makes final NASCAR start as part of "Danica Double." Will make one more start at Indianapolis 500 before retiring from racing. Split with driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in November. Now dating Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers.
No. 51 Chevrolet, Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER: Justin Marks
BORN: March 25, 1981
HOMETOWN: Rocklin, California
CREW CHIEF: Pat Tryson
NOTEWORTHY: Making Daytona 500 debut. An experienced endurance racer who drove in Rolex 24 at Daytona last month. Balancing partial racing schedule with quest to climb Mount Everest. Typo in odds from one Las Vegas bookmaker had Marks listed as 10-1 favorite to win Daytona 500 rather than correct 100-1 odds.
No. 96, Toyota, Gaunt Brothers Racing
DRIVER: D.J. Kennington
BORN: July 15, 1977
HOMETOWN: St. Thomas, Canada
CREW CHIEF: Mark Hillman
NOTEWORTHY: Finished 36th in 2017 Daytona 500. Making sixth career Cup start, third at Daytona.
No. 2 Ford, Team Penske
DRIVER: Brad Keselowski
BORN: Feb. 12, 1984
HOMETOWN: Rochester Hills, Michigan
CREW CHIEF: Paul Wolfe
SPONSOR: Discount Tire
NOTEWORTHY: 2012 series champion still looking for first Daytona 500 victory. Keselowski won exhibition Clash for first career Speedweeks victory.
No. 72 Chevrolet, TriStar Motorsports
DRIVER: Corey LaJoie
BORN: Sept. 25, 1991
HOMETOWN: Charlotte, North Carolina
CREW CHIEF: Frank Kerr
SPONSOR: Schluter Systems
NOTEWORTHY: No top-10s in 34 career starts. Spent 2017 with BK Racing. Son of two-time NASCAR second-tier series champion Randy LaJoie.
No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
DRIVER: William Byron
BORN: Nov. 29, 1996
HOMETOWN: Charlotte, North Carolina
CREW CHIEF: Darian Grubb
NOTEWORTHY: Youngest driver in field after rapid climb through NASCAR's national ranks. Won seven races in Truck Series two years ago, the Xfinity Series championship last season and earned a promotion to Jeff Gordon's former car for 2018. Making Cup debut in Daytona 500.
No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing
DRIVER: Gray Gaulding
BORN: Feb. 10, 1988
HOMETOWN: Colonial Heights, Virginia
CREW CHIEF: Rick Bourgeois
NOTEWORTHY: Making Daytona 500 debut. His race has been in jeopardy all week because BK Racing has creditors seeking millions in debt. The team filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy before Gaulding's qualifying race.
No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
DRIVER: Jimmie Johnson
BORN: Sept. 17, 1975
HOMETOWN: El Cajon, California
CREW CHIEF: Chad Knaus
NOTEWORTHY: Seven-time NASCAR champion. An eighth title would push him past the late Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for most ever, leaving him alone as NASCAR's greatest.
No. 32 Ford, GO FAS Racing
DRIVER: Matt DiBenedetto
BORN: July 27, 1991
HOMETOWN: Grass Valley, California
CREW CHIEF: Gene Nead
SPONSOR: Hurricane Heist
NOTEWORTY: Ninth in 2017 Daytona 500. Has three top-10 finishes in 104 career starts.
No. 10 Ford, Stewart-Haas Racing
DRIVER: Aric Almirola
BORN: March 14, 1984
HOMETOWN: Tampa, Florida
CREW CHIEF: John Klausmeier
SPONSOR: Smithfield Foods
NOTEWORTHY: One victory in 244 career Cup starts. It came at Daytona in July 2014. Starts first season with Stewart-Haas Racing.
No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing
DRIVER: Kyle Larson
BORN: July 31, 1992
HOMETOWN: Elk Grove, California
CREW CHIEF: Chad Johnston
SPONSOR: Credit One Bank
NOTEWORTHY: Coming off breakthrough season in which he won four Cup Series races, had 15 top-five finishes and made playoffs. Finished eighth in points.
No. 92 Ford, RBR Enterprises
DRIVER: David Gilliland
BORN: April 1, 1976
HOMETOWN: Riverside, California
CREW CHIEF: Michael Hester
SPONSOR: Black's Tire Service/Carquest Auto Parts
NOTEWORTHY: Won pole for 2007 Daytona 500 and finished career-best eighth that year. Raced in just two events last season, but attempted to qualify for all four restrictor-plate races.
No. 66 Ford, Phoenix Air Racing
DRIVER: Mark Thompson
BORN: July 9, 1951
HOMETOWN: Cartersville, Georgia
CREW CHIEF: Mike Hillman
SPONSOR: Phoenix Air Racing
NOTEWORTHY: Makes third career Cup start. Oldest driver in field at 66. Expected to retire from racing after Daytona 500. Oldest pole winner in Daytona history, starting from front in ARCA race in 2015.
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