2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series preview and entry list

February 8, 2018
Featured, News
Marijan Malcevic

  • NASCAR Cup Series cars
  • Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR
  • NASCAR Cup Series drivers
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series logo

The 70th season of the NASCAR’s premier division and the 47th season of the modern-era NASCAR Cup Series will kick-off this weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

As usual, the season-opening schedule at Daytona consists of the Advance Auto Parts Clash (February 11), the Can-Am Duel qualifying event (February 15) and the 60th running of the Daytona 500. The complete schedule of the 2018 season features 36 races and three exhibition events, the same as the year before.

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona International Speedway will host the season-opening exhibition events and the Daytona 500

Three manufacturers will stay involved in premier stock car racing series with a major change occurred in Chevrolet garages. The Chevrolet SS has been replaced by Chevrolet Camaro  ZL1 due to discontinuation of its base-model Holden Commodore VF. Ford will continue to run Fusion while Toyota would be represented by Camry.

There are also few major changes on the drivers’ grid for the 2018 Cup Series season. The most important is that Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 15-time most popular driver in a series, retired from full-time racing. Alex Bowman will replace him in the #88 Hendrick Motorsports’ Chevrolet.

Another big name which would miss from the entry list is Matt Kenseth, the 2003 Winston Cup champion and two-time Daytona 500 winner. Erik Jones will replace Kenseth in the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing’s Toyota.

The season 2017 was also the last for the most popular female driver in Cup Series history – Danica Patrick. For the 2018 season, she announced only Daytona 500 participation with Premium Motorsports’ #7 Chevrolet. Aric Almirola would take over #10 Stewart-Haas Racing’s Ford in which Patrick spent six seasons.

Martin Truex Jr

Martin Truex Jr will try to defend his title in the #78 Furniture Row’s Toyota

As a replacement for Almirola in the #43 Chevrolet, Richard Petty Motorsports hired Darrell Wallace Jr. He would be one of just two full-time rookies in the 2018 season. The other rookie is the 2017 Xfinity Series champion William Byron in the #24 Hendrick Motorsports’ Chevrolet. Chase Elliott, who spent two seasons in the #24 car, now will drive the #9 Chevrolet for the same team.

The reigning Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. will stay in the #78 Furniture Row Racing’s Toyota. All other participants of last year Championship 4 round (Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski) will drive the same cars as in 2017.

Daytona International Speedway

The 2018 NASCAR season will kick-off this weekend at Daytona

Here’s the full entry list for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season

ManufacturerTeamCar numberDrivers
ChevroletChip Ganassi Racing1Jamie McMurray
42Kyle Larson
Richard Childress Racing3Austin Dillon
31Ryan Newman
Hendrick Motorsports9Chase Elliott
24William Byron
48Jimmie Johnson
88Alex Bowman
Germain Racing13Ty Dillon
JTG Daugherty Racing37Chris Buescher
47A.J. Allmendinger
Richard Petty Motorsports43Darrell Wallace Jr.
Leavine Family Racing95Kasey Kahne
StarCom Racing0Jeffrey Earnhardt
99Derrike Cope
Premium Motorsports7Danica Patrick
TriStar Motorsports72Corey LaJoie, Cole Whitt
FordTeam Penske2Brad Keselowski
12Ryan Blaney
22Joey Logano
Stewart-Haas Racing4Kevin Harvick
10Aric Almirola
14Clint Bowyer
41Kurt Busch
Roush Fenway Racing6Trevor Bayne
17Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Wood Brothers Racing21Paul Menard
Go Fas Racing32Matt DiBenedetto
Front Row Motorsports34Michael McDowell
38David Ragan
ToyotaJoe Gibbs Racing11Denny Hamlin
18Kyle Busch
19Daniel Suarez
20Erik Jones
BK Racing23TBA
Furniture Row Racing78Martin Truex Jr.
TBARick Ware Racing51Justin Marks, TBA
52Cody Ware, B.J. McLeod, Kyle Weatherman, John Graham
TBACircle Sport Racing33Joey Gase
TBAMBM Motorsports66Mark Thompson, Timmy Hill
ChevroletBeard Motorsports62Brendan Gaughan
FordRBR Enterprises92David Gilliland
ToyotaGaunt Brothers Racing96D.J. Kennington
ChevroletThe Motorsports Group30TBA

Photos: Jerry Markland,Tim Bradbury/Getty Images,

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