Brad Keselowski – Brad Keselowski will be a favorite to win the Daytona 500. He’s an elite drafting talent and is also a past winner (Summer 2016). His car will have a ton of speed and will also likely handle really well. In the Clash he had an impressive performance. He started last, finished 1st and led 43 laps. When he was out front he was in total control of the pack. His Daytona 500 car should be even stronger so you know he’ll be tough to beat. Last year at plate tracks Keselowski scored the most points in the series, but it should be noted it’s because he was so good at Talladega (finished 1st and 7th). Last summer Keselowski had a great car and easily looked top ten good but wrecked. From the race it should be noted he finished 31st, earned the 5th best driver rating, led a race high 35 laps and won Stage #1. At the end of Stage #2 he was just outside the top ten. In the 2017 Daytona 500 he had a good car but finished 27th. His race wasn’t incident free. He had a slow pit stop and was involved in a wreck. Prior to his problems starting, he collected stage points in stage #1 with a 4th place result. In summer 2016 Keselowski was the class of the field. He finished 1st, led 115 laps and had the best driver rating by a wide margin. Nobody had anything for him in the race. In the 2016 Daytona 500 he had a fast car but faded when handling entered the equation late in runs. In the race he earned the 12th best driver rating, had a 15th place average running position and finished 20th. Talladega is the last plate track visited and at that venue he raced his way to victory lane.
Denny Hamlin – Denny Hamlin is a strong restrictor plate performer who’ll be one of the favorites to win the Daytona 500. On a year to year basis he ranks as one of the strongest competitors at plate tracks. Last year he scored the 6th most points, in the three prior seasons he scored the 4th, 5th and 1st most points. At Daytona Hamlin’s performed at a very high-level, but his last three races haven’t been the smoothest. That said, over the last five races among drivers who competed in every event he has the best average finish (12.6) and the 2nd best driver rating. Last summer, Hamlin had a good car but finished 24th after spinning with 3 laps to go. At the time of his incident he was running around 10th. In the race he led 16 laps and finished 2nd in Stage #2. In the 2017 Daytona 500 he had a good car but finished 17th after getting damage in a wreck that took away his level of competitiveness. His team used lots of strategy in the race and it really hurt him at times. In summer 2016 he also finished 17th. Performance wise he was easily top ten good, but at the end of the race he decided to get “racy” (get out of line and try to make moves) and that dropped him in the running order. With 9 laps to go he was running in 6th. In the 2016 Daytona 500, Hamlin had a great car and raced his way from 4th to 1st on the final lap. At the finish line he inched Truex Jr. for the win. Additionally in that race he earned the best driver rating, led 95 laps and had a 4th place average running position. In 2015 at Daytona he had results of 3rd and 4th. In 2014 he finished 2nd and 6th.
Joey Logano – Joey Logano is an elite restrictor plate racer who should be on your short list of favorites to win the Daytona 500. He’s an aggressive plate racer who’s proven that he can get the job done. On a year to year basis he ranks as one of the best at these venues. Last year on this track type he scored the 10th most points, in the two prior seasons he scored the 2nd and 6th most points. Daytona has been a good track for Logano. He’s a recent winner who’s finished in the top six in 4 of the last 6 races. Last summer at Daytona, Logano appeared to have a strong car, but he was taken out in the lap #70 “Big One” which relegated him to a 35th place finish. At the time of his wreck he was running around 10th. In Stage #1 he finished 5th. Last February he was impressive. He won the Clash, and in the Daytona 500 he was very strong. When the checkered flag waved he finished 6th, earned the 6th best driver rating and led 16 laps. At the end he had a very fast car but nobody would help him. In 2016 at Daytona he swept the top ten. In July 2016 he had a great car and was a consistent front runner (6.0 avg. running position). He earned the 2nd best driver rating and finished 4th. In the 2016 Daytona 500, Logano was up front when it mattered. In the race he finished 6th and earned the 7th best driver rating. In the 2015 Daytona 500 Logano raced his way to victory lane and led 31 laps.