Another year of NASCAR brings a lot of changes to the sport. The biggest is the debute of the new generation 6 cars from Ford, Chevy, and Toyota. Seeing how the drivers can handle the new cars will be something to keep an eye on all year. After the crowning of a new champion in 2012, Brad Keselowski will have the opportunity and the challenge of defending his title in 2013. After all of the expectations and the excitement, we finally get to see the generation 6 cars in action at the “Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing”, the Daytona 500. Because of how unpredictable picking a winner at Daytona can be, here are five drivers I believe have the best chance to win the Great American Race and three other drivers who may surprise some people by having a great run on Sunday.
Expect To Win
Kevin Harvick, 29 Budweiser Chevy- Richard Childress Racing
Nobody has had a better Speedweek’s this year than Harvick. Winning the Sprint Unlimited and his Budweiser Duel race, the new father has been on point all week with his eyes set on his second Daytona 500 championship. Harvick always has a habit of showing up at the front near the end of a race so don’t be surprised if Harvick is in a great position at the end for the win.
Kyle Busch, 18 M&M’s Toyota- Joe Gibbs Racing
Kyle 2012 season was a rough one for the driver of the 18 car. Missing the chase last year and only winning one race, Kyle got the 2013 season off to a much better start by winning his Budweiser Duel and has a very fast car for the 500 and will try to get his first 500 victory.
Tony Stewart, 14 Bass Pro Shop/Mobil 1 Chevy- Stewart/HAAS Racing
Year in and year out Stewart comes to Daytona Speedweeks with the goal to win the 500 and every year he comes up just short. Tony has won just about every race at Daytona from the July race to Nationwide race but the 3 time champ just can not get the big one. Why not this year?
Matt Kenseth, 20 Home Depot/Dollar General Toyota- Joe Gibbs Racing
Last years Daytona 500 champion finds himself defending his victory with a new team. Moving from 17 car with Roush Fenway Racing to the 20 car with Joe Gibbs Racing, Matt will have to adapt on the fly with his new team to find success again at Daytona this year. Throughout Speedweeks the 20 team has seemed in sync and will give Kenseth a great chance to defend his title.
Greg Biffle, 16 3M Ford- Roush Fenway Racing
Biffle would have the best Speedweeks of any driver if Kevin Harvick didn’t exist. Finishing 2nd to Harvick in both the Sprint Unlimited and the Budweiser Duel race, Biffle has shown he has a car that can run up front and compete on Sunday. Starting 5th won’t hurt his chances either.
Danica Patrick, 10 Godaddy.com Chevy- Stewart/HAAS Racing
We all know she has got a very fast car, but just getting the pole position in the biggest NASCAR race of the year isn’t enough for some people to give Danica respect. Winning the 500 sure would. Having a teacher/Teammate like Tony Stewart will help Danica learn and get better all week leading up to the 500 on Sunday. If she can keep her car clean and out of trouble, she could be in position to make even more history this Sunday.
Paul Menard, 27 Menard’s Chevy- Richard Childress Racing
Just like his teammates, Paul has had a fast car this week and the former Brickyard 400 winner should have one in the 500. Finishing 7th in the second duel race and starting 16th for the 500, Paul will have some work to do but stranger things have happened at Daytona.
Austin Dillon, 33 Honey Nut Cheerios Chevy- Richard Childress Racing
The grandson of owner Richard Childress, Austin will be running a few races in Sprint Cup this year including the Daytona 500 and he has a fast car. Finishing 3rd in his duel race and starting 8th, Austin will try to make the most of his chance in the 500 and starting up front with great equipment and a whole lot of talent. He may just pull a Trevor Bayne this Sunday.