Last race before the playoffs and the last chance for someone to sneak in with a win who doesn’t have one yet. This could be a very interesting race with a lot on the line for a lot of drivers. Some drivers whole season will come down to this one race. A race that anyone can win. This is the Daytona International Speedway.
COKE ZERO SUGAR 400
This is it folks. First time winner this year makes the playoffs if they’re qualified and knocks someone out who’s trying to get in on points. This is anybody’s race as we have seen in the past with drivers like David Ragan, Trevor Bayne, and even this year with Michael McDowell. Is there another driver to get his first career win or the first win on the season who hasn’t won already?
Denny Hamlin: Denny is my pick to win this race. He’s always been so good and has won three times at this track in his career. He just seems to know where to go, who to draft with, and when to make his move. Whether he runs up front from the beginning or bides his time and makes a move late in the race it seems that Denny is always in contention here.
Michael McDowell: Winning the Daytona 500 this year wasn’t really a fluke. Michael has always run well at Daytona even if his finishing position doesn’t always show it. Still, a win and seven top ten finishes in twenty starts for a driver who has never been with one of the top tier teams tells you something.
Austin Dillon: After getting wrecked last week and now needing to win to make the playoffs this team is going to go all out for the win. Austin has won at this track before and has finished in the top ten in half of the races he has run here in his career. This time he’ll do whatever it takes to pass for the lead at the end. But first, he has to be patient early in the race so he has a chance at the end.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin is the bubble boy, the driver who could be knocked out of the playoffs if we get a first time winner. The good news is that Kevin is very good here himself. He has run forty races at this track and has finished in the top five eleven times and top ten sixteen times to go along with two wins.
Joey Logano: For some reason it seems that the Penske drivers always find each other on the track and then work well together in the draft. Joey is the best of them at figuring out what to do and when to do it at this track. I look for all of these drivers to work together once again and have a shot at the end of this race.
Kurt Busch: Kurt runs consistently well on both of the restrictor plate tracks, Daytona and Talladega. He has already won this year so he doesn’t have any pressure on himself, but he would still like to gain some playoff points with a win. In forty career starts at Daytona Kurt has thirteen top five and eighteen top ten finishes to go along with one win.
Bubba Wallace: My dark horse for this week. Bubba finished second in his very first Daytona 500. Since then he might not have had another race where he came that close to winning, but like we said at the beginning. This is anyone’s race. It would be a fitting end leading into the playoffs if this first year team could win and make the playoffs.
Ryan Newman: Remember how close he came to winning here a couple of years ago before he got into a major crash and ended up in the hospital for a while? Well, that’s still the same driver on the same team, so why can’t he do it again and then this time avoid the wreck and win the race? Stranger things have happened.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: The loose cannon of this race. Ricky always has a fast car, but takes a lot of chances early in the race. I think if he would be patient for the first three-quarters of the race he would have more friends at the end and still have his car in one piece. Sometimes you can get away with making the moves he does, but eventually there’s going to be a mistake. Patience grasshopper, it will give you a better chance at the end.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
Driver Group Game Group A
- Denny Hamlin
Driver Group Game Group B
- Aric Almirola
- Matt DiBenedetto
Driver Group Game Group C
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
- Denny Hamlin
- Joey Logano
- Kurt Busch
- Kevin Harvick
- Aric Almirola
Dark Horse: Bubba Wallace
Stay Away From: Martin Truex Jr.
Big 18: Aric Almirola