Joey Logano – Joey Logano, the defending series champion will be a factor in the Daytona 500. He’ll have a great car underneath him, and he’s proven he can get the job done. When it comes to plate racing he’s the perfect combination of smart and aggressive. Last year at plate tracks he scored the most points and finished in the top five in 3 of the 4 races. At Daytona, Logano is a former winner who’s thrived. He won the 2015 Daytona 500 and in 5 of the last 8 races he’s finished in the top 6. I’ll note over this stretch he’s been particularly strong in the Daytona 500. In the last four “Great American Races” he has the best average finish (4.3), the best driver rating and has finished in the top 6 every race. Last summer at Daytona, Logano had a fast car but finished a misleading 39th after crashing in the lap 54 “Big One.” One lap before wrecking he was running in 11th. If his race would’ve been incident free I’m sure he probably would’ve been a factor. In last years Daytona 500 he had a great car and finished 4th. Additionally, he earned the 2nd best driver rating and finished 3rd in Stage #2. Leading up to the Daytona 500 he finished 2nd in the Clash, and 2nd in his Duel 150. In summer 2017 he had a strong car but wrecked and finished 35th. At the time of his wreck he was running around 10th. In Stage #1 he finished 5th. In February 2017 at Daytona 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 the two Daytona races prior to that he had results of 4th and 6th.
Ryan Blaney – Ryan Blaney should prominently be on your fantasy NASCAR radar at Daytona. He’s been a serious threat to win the last two Daytona 500’s and I think he’s poised to contend for the win again. Over the last two combined Daytona 500’s among drivers who competed in both races he has the best driver rating, the best average finish (4.5), the best average running position (7.0) and he’s led the most laps (120). Last summer at Daytona he had a fast car but finished last after crashing on lap 54. I’ll note prior to Stage #1 ending he easily looked top ten good and ran many laps inside the top five. When Stage #1 ended he finished just outside the top ten. In last years Daytona 500 he had a great car and nearly raced his way to victory lane. When the checkered flag waved he finished 7th, earned the best driver rating, led a race high 118 laps, finished 3rd in Stage #1 and won Stage #2. If there wasn’t late cautions which regrouped the field he was poised to race his way to victory lane. In summer 2017, Blaney ran really well but finished 26th. His race wasn’t incident free and with 8 laps to go he was caught up in “The Big One.” From the race it should be noted he finished 3rd in Stage #1, 10th in Stage #2, earned the 8th best driver rating and had an 11th place average running position. In the 2017 Daytona 500 he finished 2nd, earned the 2nd best driver rating and led 2 laps.
Kevin Harvick – Kevin Harvick is a two-time Daytona winner who’ll be tough to beat in the “Great American Race.” He’s an elite drafting talent and he’ll have a great car underneath him. At Daytona he’s had a tough time in recent races, but he’s due for some good luck. If he can avoid trouble I think he’ll be a factor to win. At Daytona over the last five races he’s finished 19th or worse and has a 28.8 average finish. In 2018 he had a great car in both events. Last summer he was very competitive but finished 19th after crashing late. He was the leader with 3 laps to go but then with two laps to go he wrecked which led to his 19th place finish. Over the last 50 laps he ran well and looked like a top five contender. In last years Daytona 500 he had a fast car but was collected in the lap 101 “Big One” which led to his 31st place finish. One lap prior to wrecking he was running in 3rd. In Stage #1 he finished 7th. In summer 2017 he had a good car but wrecked and finished 33rd. In the race I’ll note he finished 6th in Stage #2 and earned the 9th best driver rating. In the 2017 Daytona 500 he had a great car that I would argue was the best. He finished 2nd in Stage #1, won Stage #2, led a race high 50 laps but finished 22nd after getting damaged in a wreck. In 3 of the 4 Daytona races prior to that he finished in the top 4.