Four weeks and one day from now, the single-car qualifying session is scheduled to take place for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500, which is scheduled to take place the following Sunday, February 16 at Daytona International Speedway.
Leading up to the first of 36 races on the nine-month schedule, a total of 34 full-time drivers have been confirmed for the 2020 season.
There are two additional confirmed full-time entries, and there is speculation that two more may emerge. However, is the full-time driver lineup already set?
While it is not safe to say whether or not 34 will be the full-time driver total for the 2020 season, there are a few things that we do know about the other full-time confirmed entries as well as the two additional potential full-time entries.
The two full-time confirmed entries without confirmed full-time drivers are at Spire Motorsports and Rick Ware Racing.
We already know that the Spire Motorsports entry will not have a full-time driver this season. Just like last season when eight drivers drove for the team, multiple drivers are slated to compete again in 2020.
This was confirmed when it was announced that Ross Chastain would be behind the wheel of the teamâs #77 Chevrolet in two races this season via a partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing.
It is unknown, however, if the Rick Ware Racing entry for David Ragan, which is set to be fielded in partnership with Front Row Motorsports, is an additional entry or their third full-time entry, which does not yet have a charter.
If it is the latter, it would be shared by multiple part-time drivers, as Ragan retired from full-time competition after the 2019 season, and this is what it looks like as of now, per Fox Sportsâ Bob Pockrass, who went on to state that this entry could become the 36th and final chartered entry of the season.
As far as the two potential additional full-time entries are concerned, they are at MBM Motorsports and Gaunt Brothers Racing, and neither of which have charters.
MBM Motorsports stated last month that they would like Timmy Hillâs entry to become a full-time entry, but that could hinge on whether or not he qualifies for the Daytona 500, which could be a challenge because of the fact that entry list already contains more than 40 cars and 36 cars will be locked into the field on charters. Hillâs #66 Ford is not one of those 36 cars.
Gaunt Brothers Racing recently entered the potential full-time fray when it was rumored that Daniel Suarez could end up driving their #96 Toyota in a full-time capacity with financial backing from Coca-Cola and possible additional support from Toyota.
Gaunt Brothers Racing have never previously competed full-time, and the #96 Toyota is another car without a charter that would not be guaranteed to compete in the Daytona 500.
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So while the full-time driver lineup for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season could very likely be set with 34 drivers, there are still a few additional factors to sort out at Rick Ware Racing, MBM Motorsports and Gaunt Brothers Racing before that is confirmed.