Welcome to 2021! The NASCAR season has officially arrived which means it’s Daytona 500 time! Hope you’re ready for the “Great American Race!” In this race, legacy’s are made and many of the sports current icons are still searching for their first elusive Daytona 500 win.
The Daytona 500 has a unique format for setting the field. The front row was set by qualifying, and the rest of the lineup was set by the Duel 150’s. Here’s a look at the STARTING LINEUP, make sure you take note of the growing list of drivers who’ll start in the back.
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Final Top 25 Fantasy NASCAR Rankings for the Daytona 500
1) Joey Logano (Starting – 9th)
Daytona Fantasy Spin – Joey Logano is a super-elite performer at Daytona who’ll be a favorite to win “The Great American Race.” When it comes to superspeedway racing, Logano is arguably the premiere performer and I view him as the perfect combination of being smart and aggressive. In last years Daytona 500, Logano had a great car but walked away with a misleading result. In the five Daytona 500’s prior to that he had 1 win, the best average finish (4.2), the best driver rating and had a result in the top 6 every race. In Logano’s Duel 150 on Thursday night, he looked strong and finished 4th after making a move for the win at the end. In the Daytona 500, look for Logano to be a contender to win.
Daytona Track History – Joey Logano has performed at an extremely high-level in the Daytona 500 and if he didn’t wreck late in last years 500, Logano would have six straight top 6’s in the “Great American Race.” Summer races unfortunately haven’t been as friendly to him. Last summer, Logano had a great car and was a contender to win, but crashed late and finished 27th. In the race, Logano won Stage # 1, won Stage #2, led a race high 36 laps and was running in 2nd with 4 laps to go right before he was swept up in a “Big One” after he just made a pass for the lead. In the 2020 Daytona 500, Logano was a standout performer, but wrecked late and finished 26th. In the race he finished 4th in Stage #1, 9th in Stage #2, had the best average running position (9.0) and led 6 laps. With 5 laps to go before he wrecked late he was running in 2nd. Leading up to the Daytona 500, Logano raced his way to victory lane in his Duel 150. In summer 2019, Logano was a contender to win, but finished 25th after crashing in the “Big One.” In the race he led 40 laps, won Stage #1, finished 10th in Stage #2 and was the leader 9 laps before the final “Big One” ensued. In the 2019 Daytona 500, Logano finished 4th overall, 3rd in Stage #1 and 10th in Stage #2. If Logano would’ve had some help at the end, I think there’s a good chance he could’ve won. DraftKings $9,900 / FanDuel $13,000
2) Denny Hamlin (Starting – 25th)
Daytona Fantasy Spin – Defending Daytona 500 champion, Denny Hamlin is an elite superspeedway performer who’ll be vying for a Daytona 500 three-peat. In “The Great American Race”, Hamlin’s been phenomenal and year after year he’s stepped up his game and risen to the occasion in the sports biggest race. In Daytona 500’s since 2014, Hamlin’s been to victory lane three times and in 6 of the 7 races he’s finished in the top 4. It’s clear, nobody has been a better or safer pick in this crown jewel event. Last year on superspeedways, nobody was better than Hamlin. On this track type he won twice, swept the top 4 and had an impressive 2.25 average finish. In the Daytona 500, look for Hamlin to keep the good times going and be a contender to win.
Daytona Track History – Denny Hamlin is a standout performer at Daytona who’s unquestionably one of the best. At Daytona, Hamlin’s been to victory lane three times and in a third of his starts he’s finished in the top 5. In 2020 at Daytona, Hamlin had a great season. Last summer, Hamlin had a great car and finished 3rd when the checkered flag waved. In the race, Hamlin only led 9 laps, but they all came in the final 13 laps. Unfortunately, the final restart was his undoing when teammates Byron and Elliott hooked up together on fresh tires. In last years Daytona 500, Hamlin finished 1st, won Stage #2 and led a race high 79 laps. When it was closing time, Hamlin was clutch and led the final 13 laps. In summer 2019, Hamlin was a contender to win, but crashed in the late “Big One” which led to his 26th place finish. On lap 113 which was six laps before the “Big One” ensued he was the leader. In the race, Hamlin led 5 laps, finished 8th in Stage #1 and finished just outside the top ten in Stage #2. In the 2019 Daytona 500, Hamlin had a great car and raced his way to victory lane after leading 30 of the final 38 laps. DraftKings $10,400 / FanDuel $14,000
3) Ryan Blaney (Starting – 14th)
Daytona Fantasy Spin – Ryan Blaney will be a driver to be reckoned with in the Daytona 500. He’s an elite superspeedway performer who’s come close to winning numerous Daytona 500’s in the past. Since 2017 in “The Great American Race” minus 2019 when he crashed, Blaney’s finished runner-up twice and has a 3.6 average finish. Last year at superspeedways, Blaney was a standout performer and minus the fall Talladega race where he ran well but crashed his average finish was 3rd. At Daytona, look for Blaney to be a contender to win if he can avoid mayhem.
Daytona Track History – Ryan Blaney has been a strong performer at Daytona. In 2020, Blaney had a great season and swept the top six. In summer 2020, Blaney was fast and ran well throughout the race. In the event he finished 4th in Stage #1, 9th in Stage #2, led 1 lap and then finished 6th overall. In last years Daytona 500, Blaney had a fast car. In the race he finished 6th in Stage #1, 8th in Stage #2 and finished 2nd when the checkered flag waved. In summer 2019, Blaney had a great car, but finished 36th after being a victim in the “Big One.” In the race he finished 3rd in Stage #1, finished just outside the top ten in Stage #2 and was running in 4th on lap 110 which was shortly before the “Big One” which essentially ended the race. In the 2019 Daytona 500, Blaney was competitive but finished 31st after crashing with about ten laps to go. Just prior to wrecking he was running in 10th. From the race I’ll note he finished 5th in Stage #1, won Stage #2 and led 13 laps. In the two Daytona 500’s prior to that, Blaney had results of 7th (2018 – led 118 laps) and 2nd (2017). DraftKings $10,000 / FanDuel $13,300