William Byron – Reigning Xfinity Series champion William Byron will be making his series debut in the Daytona 500. I will note I think he has dark horse fantasy potential but he’s awfully risky. Young drivers of his caliber haven’t had good performances in recent Daytona 500’s. Between Elliott, Suarez and Jones they had a combined 35th place average finish in this particular race. In the Xfinity Series, Byron has been successful at Daytona. Last July he led 29 laps and raced his way to victory lane. In February in the lower series he finished 9th.
AJ Allmendinger – AJ Allmendinger has been a really good driver at Daytona recently. Last year between the combined events he scored the most points, was one of two drivers who finished in the top ten both races and had a 5.5 average finish. Last summer, Allmendinger had a solid race. He ran around the back for much of the race but when the checkered flag waved he finished 8th. In last year’s Daytona 500 he dodged the carnage and had enough to fuel to make it to the finish and as a result he finished 3rd. His average running position was 19th, but that’s to be expected because he typically rides around the back on this track type until the end. In summer 2015 he finished 13th. In the three Daytona races prior to that he had results of 20th, 21st and 21st.
Michael McDowell – At Daytona, Michael McDowell will be driving the #34 for Front Row Motorsports. If you’re looking for a semi-deep sleeper he certainly isn’t a bad option. Over his last four starts at Daytona he has an 11.1 average finish and has had a result in the top 15 every race. Over his last 8 races since 2013 he’s finished in the top ten half the time and in the top fifteen 75% percent of the time. Last summer at Daytona he had his best race and when the checkered flag waved he finished 4th. In last years Daytona 500 he finished 15th and had a 14th place average running position. In 2016 he had results of 10th and 15th.