23XI Racing news sets up scenario not seen since 2002

23XI Racing are set to field an entry in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 that hasn’t been seen in more than two decades.

23XI Racing announced a third entry for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, confirming that Travis Pastrana is set to drive the No. 67 Toyota in an attempt to qualify for the Great American Race.

Pastrana is set to join the team’s full-time drivers, Bubba Wallace (No. 23 Toyota) and Tyler Reddick (No. 45 Toyota), so it makes sense than the team went with No. 67 (23, 45, and 67).

But the 39-year-old Annapolis, Maryland native is the only driver on the team who is not locked into the 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4,023-kilometer) high-banked Daytona Beach, Florida oval .

Both Wallace’s No. 23 Toyota and Reddick’s No. 45 Toyotas are among the 36 chartered entries, which means their spots in the 65th annual Daytona 500 are already secured.

But Pastrana’s No. 67 Toyota is one of five non-chartered entries (so far), and only four non-chartered entries will qualify for the race since the field is capped at 40 cars.

If Pastrana is able to qualify for the race, whether he does so in the single-car qualifying session or the Bluegreen Vacations Duels, this year’s Daytona 500 would become the first Cup Series race since 2002 to feature a No. 67 cars.

Not since Boris Said drove the No. 67 Ford at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International in 2002 has the number appeared in a NASCAR Cup Series race.

The No. 67 made its first Cup Series appearance in 1950, when Joe Harrison made his one and only Cup Series start at the Daytona Beach & Road Course.

From that race through Said’s start at Watkins Glen International in 2002, the No. 67 cars made a total of 640 starts in the Cup Series, with Buddy Arrington leading the way with 481 appearances. The No. 67 cars never found victory lane during that time, although Arrington recorded 11 top five finishes and 85 top 10 finishes.

In total, the No. 67 cars have 23 top five finishes and 114 top 10 finishes. David Pearson took his only pole position back in 1960 at Gamecock Speedway in Sumter, South Carolina en route to a second place finish.

Pastrana is set to attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500 in the single-car qualifying session on Wednesday, February 15. If he fails to do so then, he can still do so in the Bluegreen Vacations Duels, which are scheduled to take place on Thursday, February 16. The race itself is scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 19.

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