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2009 Daytona 500: Runners and riders

It's all change in NASCAR's Sprint Cup this year with some new faces, merged teams and new colour schemes. But don't fear, our essential guide is the perfect companion to keep you in the know during this week's television coverage of the Daytona 500... and the rest of the 36-race season

#00 David Reutimann Toyota Camry
Michael Waltrip Racing
Crew Chief: Rodney Childers
Cup 2008: 22nd
Daytona 2008: 18th
  • Switched cars last year when Dale Jarrett retired, but is back in the No.00 this season
  • Took pole for the final race of 2008 at Homestead
  • #1 Martin Truex Jr Chevrolet Impala
    Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
    Crew Chief: Kevin Manion
    Cup 2008: 15th
    Daytona 2008: 20th
  • Two-time Busch (now Nationwide) Series champion
  • Last year failed to capitalise on a strong 2007 when he scored his only win to date and beat teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr into the Chase
  • Starts Daytona 500 from pole position
  • #2 Kurt Busch Dodge Charger
    Penske Racing South
    Crew Chief: Pat Tryson
    Cup 2008: 18th
    Daytona 2008: 2nd
  • Was NASCAR's bad boy until his brother came along
  • First Chase champion in 2004 and has been a race winner each season since
  • Proved he was a team player by pushing former Penske stablemate Ryan Newman to victory at Daytona last year
  • #5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Impala
    Hendrick Motorsports
    Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson
    Cup 2008: 28th
    Daytona 2008: 31st
  • Returning to a full-time drive for the first time since 2006
  • Considered a potential title favourite by his rivals, even aged 50
  • Has his best chance to score elusive Daytona 500 victory in 2009
  • #6 David Ragan Ford Fusion
    Roush Fenway Racing
    Crew Chief: Jimmy Fennig
    Cup 2008: 13th
    Daytona 2008: DNF
  • Established himself as worthy of a top Cup drive after a shaky start in unpopular rookie outings in 2006
  • Hungry for first win and a place in the Chase and after just missing out last year
  • #07 Casey Mears Chevrolet Impala
    Richard Childress Racing
    Crew Chief: Gil Martin
    Cup 2008: 20th
    Daytona 2008: DNF
  • Switched from top team Hendrick to form part of an expanded Childress line-up this year
  • Took his only win to date in the 2007 Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte
  • #7 Robby Gordon Toyota Camry
    Robby Gordon Motorsport
    Crew Chief: Kirk Almquist
    Cup 2008: 33rd
    Daytona 2008: 8th
  • An open-wheel convert, used to contest the Indy 500 and Coca Cola 600 on the same weekend
  • One of the longest serving owner/drivers
  • Switches from Dodge to Toyota this year
  • #8 Aric Almirola Chevrolet Impala
    Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
    Crew Chief: Doug Randolph
    Cup 2008: 42nd
    Daytona 2008: N/A
  • Finally has the car to himself after sharing with Mark Martin last year, but the team might not have the funding for him to complete the season
  • Took a career best eighth place at Bristol last year, his only top 10 finish to date
  • #9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Charger
    Richard Petty Motorsports
    Crew Chief: Kenny Francis
    Cup 2008: 14th
    Daytona 2008: 7th
  • Perhaps Dodge's brightest hope heading into the Daytona 500
  • Clearly has the speed after winning a career-high six races in 2006, but yet to find consistency and missed out on the Chase in the last two years
  • #11 Denny Hamlin Toyota Camry
    Joe Gibbs Racing
    Crew Chief: Mike Ford
    Cup 2008: 8th
    Daytona 2008: 17th
  • Overshadowed by the arrival of Kyle Busch at Gibbs last year
  • So far failed to live up to his outstanding rookie season in 2006
  • #12 David Stremme Dodge Charger
    Penske Racing South
    Crew Chief: Roy McCauley
    Cup 2008: 66th
    Daytona 2008: N/A
  • Raced for Ganassi until 2008 when he became Penske's test driver
  • Replaces Ryan Newman in the race line-up this year
  • #14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Impala
    Stewart/Haas Racing
    Crew Chief: Darien Grubb
    Cup 2008: 9th
    Daytona 2008: 3rd
  • Two-time Cup champion is the last man to win the title before Jimmie Johnson
  • An often controversial figure, 'The Smoke' has been a fixture in the Chase
  • Left Gibbs to set up his own team this season and finished third in last weekend's Bud Shootout
  • #16 Greg Biffle Ford Fusion
    Roush Fenway Racing
    Crew Chief: Greg Irwin
    Cup 2008: 3rd
    Daytona 2008: 10th
  • Regular Chase contender but needs to find a little extra for a title challenge
  • The only driver in NASCAR history to win Busch and Truck titles
  • #17 Matt Kenseth Ford Fusion
    Roush Fenway Racing
    Crew Chief: Drew Blickensderfer
    Cup 2008: 11th
    Daytona 2008: 36th
  • The Chase was introduced after his consistent but uninspiring title-winning season in 2003, when he won just one race
  • Another Chase regular, but had his first winless season since 2001 last year
  • #18 Kyle Busch Toyota Camry
    Joe Gibbs Racing
    Crew Chief: Steve Addington
    Cup 2008: 10th
    Daytona 2008: 4th
  • The bad boy, 'Wild Thing' or 'Rowdy' is hated by the fans but plays up to it
  • Dominated the first part of 2008 but his challenge fell apart in the Chase
  • Holds the record for most wins in a season across the three main series - Cup, Nationwide and Trucks - with 21
  • #19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Charger
    Richard Petty Motorsports
    Crew Chief: Kevin Buskirk
    Cup 2008: 24th
    Daytona 2008: 6th
  • Made the first Chase in 2004 but hasn't won a race or come close to the Chase since
  • Form dipped following a mid-season move from Yates to Evernham in 2006
  • #20 Joey Logano Toyota Camry
    Joe Gibbs Racing
    Crew Chief: Greg Zipadelli
    Cup 2008: 64th
    Daytona 2008: N/A
  • Labelled the 'best thing since sliced bread' when he burst onto the scene last year aged just 18
  • Struggled on selected Cup outings with Hall of Fame at the end of 2008
  • Replaces Tony Stewart at Gibbs this year
  • #21 Bill Elliott Ford Fusion
    Wood Brothers Racing
    Crew Chief: David Hyder
    Cup 2008: 39th
    Daytona 2008: DNQ
  • 1988 champion, 'Awesome Bill from Dawsonville' hasn't raced full-time since 2003
  • Will only enter select races this season as Wood Brothers reduce their programme
  • Topped Daytona practice this week
  • #24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Impala
    Hendrick Motorsports
    Crew Chief: Steve Letarte
    Cup 2008: 7th
    Daytona 2008: DNF
  • Four-time champion but hasn't won a title since 2001
  • 2008 was his first winless season since 1993, but claims to be up to speed with Car of Tomorrow after a slow start
  • Over-shadowed by teammate Johnson since the introduction of the Chase
  • #25 Brad Keselowski Chevrolet Impala
    Hendrick Motorsports
    Crew Chief: Lance McGrew
    Cup 2008: 57th
    Daytona 2008: N/A
  • Promising rookie, finished third in the Nationwide series last season
  • Will enter seven races with Hendrick and 10 in Phoenix Racing's No.09 car
  • #26 Jamie McMurray Ford Fusion
    Roush Fenway Racing
    Crew Chief: Donnie Wingo
    Cup 2008: 16th
    Daytona 2008: 26th
  • Started his career well with a victory as a rookie in 2002, but has only won once since and never made the Chase
  • Started 2009 strongly in last weekend's non-points shootout, where he was narrowly beaten to victory by Kevin Harvick on the last lap
  • #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Impala
    Richard Childress Racing
    Crew Chief: Todd Berrier
    Cup 2008: 4th
    Daytona 2008: 14th
  • Won the Daytona 500 in 2007 by pipping Mark Martin right on the line
  • Won five races back in 2006, but Daytona is his only Cup victory since
  • Came from nowhere to win last weekend's non-points shootout on the final lap
  • #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Impala
    Richard Childress Racing
    Crew Chief: Scott Miller
    Cup 2008: 6th
    Daytona 2008: 13th
  • A wise campaigner, Burton has won races in each of the last three seasons but is yet to seriously threaten in the Chase
  • Has a habit of starting the Chase strongly but fading as Johnson and co get going
  • #33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Impala
    Richard Childress Racing
    Crew Chief: Shane Wilson
    Cup 2008: 5th
    Daytona 2008: 24th
  • Switches from No.07 to a new fourth Childress car this year
  • Has become a Chase regular and won a race in the each of the last two seasons
  • Beat Carl Edwards to the Nationwide title last year
  • #34 John Andretti Chevrolet Impala
    Front Row Motorsports
    Crew Chief: Steven Lane
    Cup 2008: 62nd
    Daytona 2008: 40th
  • Has only contested part seasons in recent years and is just confirmed for Daytona so far, but the car's owner points guarantee him a start in the first five races
  • #36 Scott Riggs Toyota Camry
    Tommy Baldwin Racing
    Crew Chief: Tommy Baldwin
    Cup 2008: 31st
    Daytona 2008: 21st
  • Lost his seat at Haas/CNC following the merger with Tony Stewart's new team
  • Hopes to contest a full season with Tommy Baldwin Racing, but no sponsor has yet been announced
  • #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Impala
    Stewart/Haas Racing
    Crew Chief: Tony Gibson
    Cup 2008: 17th
    Daytona 2008: 1st
  • Left Penske to join Tony Stewart's team for this season
  • Regular winner early in his Cup career but endured a slump with Penske in recent years
  • 'The Rocket' won the Daytona 500 in 2008 and is a renowned qualifier
  • #41 Jeremy Mayfield Toyota Camry
    Mayfield Motorsports
    Crew Chief: Tony Furr
    Cup 2008: 50th
    Daytona 2008: 23rd
  • Made the Chase in the first two years in 2004 and 2005
  • Hasn't contested a full season since being sacked by Gillett Evernham mid-way through 2006
  • #42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet Impala
    Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
    Crew Chief: Brian Pattie
    Cup 2008: 25th
    Daytona 2008: 32nd
  • Hindered by Ganassi's struggle to make the Car of Tomorrow competitive
  • Didn't add to his rookie win at Sears Point in 2007
  • Could benefit from the team's switch to Chevrolet this year
  • #43 Reed Sorenson Dodge Charger
    Richard Petty Motorsports
    Crew Chief: Mike Shiplett
    Cup 2008: 32nd
    Daytona 2008: 5th
  • Switches from Ganassi to the merged Petty/GEM team
  • Yet to break into the top 20 in the standings in three full seasons of the Cup
  • #44 AJ Allmendinger Dodge Charger
    Richard Petty Motorsports
    Crew Chief: Sammy Johns
    Cup 2008: 36th
    Daytona 2008: DNQ
  • Former Champ Car race winner, dropped by the Red Bull team last year after two disappointing seasons in the Cup
  • Started the season with a strong run to fifth in last weekend's shootout
  • His season consists of first eight races plus other Daytona for now
  • #47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Camry
    JTG Daugherty Racing
    Crew Chief: Frank Kerr
    Cup 2008: 45th
    Daytona 2008: N/A
  • Double Australian V8 Touring Car champion
  • Finished third at Watkins Glen last season in only his third Cup race
  • #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Impala
    Hendrick Motorsports
    Crew Chief: Chad Knaus
    Cup 2008: 1st
    Daytona 2008: 27th
  • Reigning triple champion has dominated the Cup for the last three years
  • Chemistry with crew chief Chad Knaus means he can never be discounted from victory no matter where he starts
  • Aiming to become the first man in history to win four Cup titles in a row
  • #55 Michael Waltrip Toyota Camry
    Michael Waltrip Racing
    Crew Chief: Robert Barker
    Cup 2008: 29th
    Daytona 2008: 29th
  • Has won the Daytona 500 twice but never finished in the top 10 in the standings, despite contesting every season since 1986
  • Has not reached the same level of competitiveness since becoming a team owner two years ago
  • #77 Sam Hornish Jr Dodge Charger
    Penske Racing South
    Crew Chief: Travis Geisler
    Cup 2008: 35th
    Daytona 2008: 15th
  • Three-time IndyCar champion had a tough rookie season in NASCAR in 2008, battling to stay in the top 35
  • Has insisted he will stick at NASCAR and not return to open-wheel racing
  • #78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Impala
    Furniture Row Racing
    Crew Chief: Jay Guy
    Cup 2008: 34th
    Daytona 2008: 37th
  • The Cup's Rookie of the Year in 2008
  • Hasn't got a full-time drive this year following DEI's merger with Ganassi
  • Missed out on a famous win at Talladega last year when he was judged to have passed Tony Stewart under the yellow line on the final turn
  • #82 Scott Speed Toyota Camry
    Red Bull Racing
    Crew Chief: Jimmy Elledge
    Cup 2008: 55th
    Daytona 2008: N/A
  • Much is expected of the Formula One refugee in his first full NASCAR season
  • Made six Cup appearances in the Red Bull team at the end of 2008 and qualified second for the final race at Homestead
  • Lost last year's ARCA title at the last race
  • #83 Brian Vickers Toyota Camry
    Red Bull Racing
    Crew Chief: Ryan Pemberton
    Cup 2008: 19th
    Daytona 2008: 12th
  • Stronger second season with Red Bull in 2008, including a pole a Michigan
  • Took his only Cup win to date in controversial circumstances by wrecking Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr on the final lap at Talladega
  • #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet Impala
    Hendrick Motorsports
    Crew Chief: Tony Eury Jr
    Cup 2008: 12th
    Daytona 2008: 9th
  • Son of NASCAR legend is the fans' favourite
  • Expected to challenge for the title this year after settling in at Hendrick in 2008
  • Started Hendrick career by winning the shootout last year, but didn't have the momentum to challenge in the Chase
  • #96 Bobby Labonte Ford Fusion
    Hall of Fame Racing
    Crew Chief: Todd Parrott
    Cup 2008: 21st
    Daytona 2008: 11th
  • Cup champion in 2000, but hasn't won a race since 2003
  • Left Petty Enterprises for Hall of Fame at the end of last season
  • #98 Paul Menard Ford Fusion
    Yates Racing
    Crew Chief: Larry Carter
    Cup 2008: 26th
    Daytona 2008: 22nd
  • Yet to finish in the top 25 in the standings after two full seasons with DEI
  • Moves from DEI to Yates for 2009
  • #99 Carl Edwards Ford Fusion
    Roush Fenway Racing
    Crew Chief: Bob Osborne
    Cup 2008: 2nd
    Daytona 2008: 19th
  • Johnson's closest challenger
  • 'Cousin Carl' would have won the 2008 title on full season's points
  • Expected to lead Roush's challenge, has a reputation for winning fuel economy races, but is fast everywhere
  • Our guide covers the top 35 cars in the owners' standings plus anyone likely to contest a significant portion of the season. You may still see people making a one-off appearance in the Daytona 500 that didn't make our list

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