How Many Cars Are In A NASCAR Race?

How Many Cars Are In A NASCAR Race

The number of cars in a NASCAR race varies depending on the year, series, and competition. However, since 2016, most NASCAR Cup Series races have featured 40 entrants each. Most Xfinity Series races allow 36 cars to start, as do those in the Camping World Truck series, which permits an additional four entrants in races without a qualifying session.



While NASCAR drivers compete individually in races, many are on a team with other drivers. A team is allowed up to four different cars and is usually made up of cars from one manufacturer. The most common car manufacturers include Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota. In addition to cars on a team sharing the same manufacturer, different teams with the same manufacturer will often work together.

In the NASCAR Cup Series, 17 teams compete. A few of the most notable teams are Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, and Stewart-Haas Racing. While a NASCAR owner usually has only one team, a team is allowed to race in all of the NASCAR national series, including the NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. 

Cutting Down Cars

In 2016, the number of cars in a NASCAR Cup Series race was cut down from 43 to 40. At the same time, the organization enacted a charter system for racing teams. Under the new system, 36 individual charters were awarded for the NASCAR Cup Series. A charter guarantees that the owner will have at least one of their cars compete in the NASCAR Cup Series points races. In addition, the charters can be transferred from one team to another or sold to outside buyers.

NASCAR made this decision to improve the organization’s financial stability and increase the value of each racing team, especially to investors. The teams that competed in the most races were awarded the initial charters. These teams included Hendrick Motorsports (four charters), Stewart-Haas Racing (three charters), and Joe Gibbs Racing (three charters).

Qualifying for the Daytona 500

While 43 drivers compete in the qualifying rounds, only 40 earn a spot to race in the Daytona 500. However, the 36 charter drivers are guaranteed a spot in the race. Therefore, the four open spots in the race can be filled in by any of the seven remaining non-charter drivers. 

To start, each driver participates in a timed lap around the track at the Daytona International Speedway. The two drivers with the fastest times automatically qualify for a front-row position in the race.

After the qualifying laps are completed, the remaining drivers race in the Bluegreen Vacation Duels to determine their spots in the race. The Duels are broken up into two 60-lap, 150-mile races. Drivers that finished in odd positions for the qualifying lap race in the first Duel, while drivers that finished in even positions compete in the second Duel race. The winner of each Duel earns a spot in the second row to start the Daytona 500. The remaining positions are filled in based on the finishing order of the Duel races.


How many cars are in the Daytona 500?

There are 40 cars that race in the Daytona 500. Forty-three cars compete in the qualifying stage of the Daytona 500 race weekend, and the top 40 are granted entry into the race.

How many NASCAR races are there per year?

There are 36 races in the NASCAR Cup Series season, as well as two non-points-paying exhibition races, the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum and the NASCAR All-Star Race. The NASCAR Cup Series season is ten months long, from February to November.

How many NASCAR teams are there?

There are 17 NASCAR teams in the Cup Series, with a total of 22 teams competing across the three national series (many teams compete in multiple series). While some NASCAR Cup Series teams only have one or two charters, the larger teams are permitted to own up to four charters, meaning that teams like Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing are able to employ four full-time drivers.