The field is set as 40 drivers are ready to compete for the title of “Daytona 500 Winner”. A lot of action is going to be packed inside the 2.5 mile track at Daytona. Speeds will be flirting with 200 MPH while first place through 40th are separated by a mere three seconds. Did I mention these speeds and closeness will be going into turns banked at 31 degrees? Who will be able to cross the finish line first at The Great American Race? Let’s take a look.
You can’t talk about who’s going to win the Daytona 500 without mentioning the winner from the year before. In 2016, Denny Hamlin edged out Martin Truex Jr. By one hundredth of a second to win his first Daytona 500. During speedweeks this year, Hamlin has seemed to have the fastest car. He almost pulled off a win at The Clash on Sunday, and was able to win the second Duel race Thursday night. Starting fourth this Sunday, Hamlin will look to take the lead early and often.
Speaking of The Clash, Logano was able to capitalize on a Hamlin and Keselowski mistake to win. Just two years removed from a Daytona 500 win, Logano has seemingly figured out the famed track. The Fords have been strong all Speedweek so Logano may capture his second Daytona 500 win in three years.
One of the best restrictor plate racers in the sport, Harvick is looking to prove doubters wrong since Stewart Haas Racing moved to Fords. The 16-year-veteran won this very race back in 2007 and hopes to win it again to years later. Over that past two races at the Daytona 500, Harvick has managed two Top 5 finishes.
Wildcard – Clint Bowyer
Bowyer is a man on a mission. After the demise of Michael Waltrip Racing in 2015, Bowyer moved to HScott Motorsports where it was a year to forget. With a new lease on his nascar life, Clint was giving the opportunity to take over for three time NASCAR Champion Tony Stewart. In much better equipment and a sneaky good driver on restrictor plate tracks, don’t be surprised to see Bowyer up front at the end and maybe in Victory lane.
Winner – Dale Earnhardt Jr.
There is nobody in the sport of NASCAR better than ‘Junebug’ win it comes to Daytona or any restrictor plate tracks. Over his 18 year career, Earnhardt Jr has won 10 races at restrictor plates tracks. He is hard to beat and with missing the last half of ’16 due to a concussion, Dale is ready to get back in victory LAN and claim his third Daytona 500 victory.
Dale Earnhardt Jr – $10,600
Kyle Busch – $9,400
Martin Truex Jr – $9,000
Ryan Newman – $7,500
Ryan Blaney – $7,300
David Regan – $6,000