Host Pay Per Head Blog » Sporting News » 2018 Daytona 500 Race Preview

2018 Daytona 500 Race Preview

by Daniel Gerbick on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

daytona 500 2018 logoFor the 60th time, the NASCAR stock cars will awaken on the Daytona high banks for their season opener at the Daytona 500.

Last year “The Great American Race” was won by Kurt Busch in his Ford car for Stewart-Haas Racing as he outlasted the competition and took his first Daytona 500 victory.

This year, Busch and 38 other drivers will race in NASCAR’s premier event for a place on the Harley J. Earl trophy.

Among the big stories this year for the NASCAR season we find the introduction of a new scanning system to inspect the cars before races, the reduction of pit crews from six to five members and the retirements of Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Danica Patrick.

Patrick, of Premium Motorsports, will be competing in the first of her final two NASCAR races before she ends her racing career. She will compete in this race for a last shot at the Harley J. Earl Trophy and then in May, she will be at the Indianapolis 500 to close her career for good.

Kurt Busch is the defending champion, but despite that, he was in thin ice in the offseason as there were questions of whether he would return to the team. He eventually signed a one-year contract and is now looking to get a repeat victory at Daytona to silence his critics and smooth things out with his team.

Stewart-Haas team is completed by Busch’s teammate Kevin Harvick, the 2007 Daytona 500 winner, Clint Bowyer, and Aric Almirola joined the team to replace Patrick. Almirola has a victory at Daytona, but it was at a rain-shortened July race.

Having won NASCAR’s regular season points championships and the playoffs it would be fair to call Martin Truex Jr. NASCAR’s first undisputed champion, but the Furniture Row Racing driver is still looking to win the trophy that eluded him in the blink of an eye in 2016.

Hendricks Motorsports opens the season as one of the teams with most changes as it will feature a couple of new faces in its drivers’ lineup.  The rock of the team is the seven-time series champion Jimmy Johnson who is looking to win the Daytona 500 for the third time in his career and the first since 2013.

His teammate Chase Elliot, a two-time pole sitter, and Daytona Duel winner, will be driving his number nine renumbered Chevrolet to emulate his father Bill Elliot, a two-time Daytona 500 winner and the series champion in 1988.

Hendricks Motorsports also features rookie and Xfinity Series champion William Byron and this year’s pole sitter Alex Bowman. In 2016 he brilliantly filled the shoes of Earnhardt Jr. and has now been awarded a full-time job driving the number 88 Nationwide Chevrolet car.

Roush Fenway Racing’s main card is 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, who will be paired with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and both drivers have strong credentials to get their team in the victory lane.

Team Penske is expanding to a three-car operation this year featuring Brad Keselowski, the 2012 series champion; Joey Logano, the 2015 Daytona 500 champion; and Ryan Blaney, who is coming over from Wood Brothers Racing.

Paul Menard will drive this year for the Wood Brothers Racing team and he could surprise a few skeptics by having a better race than most people expect him to as he’s finished this race twice in the top-10 and last year took fifth place.

Penske’s strongest rival, Chip Ganassi Racing, is back with their usual pair of drivers: 2010 Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray and his teammate Kyle Larson was only a lap away from winning this race last year.

Joe Gibbs Racing is led by Kyle Busch in the M&M’s Camry, who last year was having a strong race before his rear right tire blew and was eliminated after he was involved in a crash.

His teammate Danny Hamlin is the winner of the 2016 Daytona 500, the closest in history. This year he’s back to try for his second win at the Great American Race. The team is completed by Mexican Daniel Suarez and second-year man Erik Jones, who replaces the recently retired Kenseth.

Two-time third-place finisher (2009 and 2017) A.J Allmendinger drives along Chris Buescher for JTG Daugherty Racing.

The 2008 Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman, who has not finished in the top-five since 2013, will try to win this event for the second time in his career as he drives along Austin Dillon for Richard Childress Racing.

An underdog with a legitimate shot at victory is Matt DiBenedetto of Go Fas Racing, who last year finished in ninth place in this race and could have a breakthrough season in 2018.

Another underdog capable of winning this race is Front Row Motorsports man Michael McDowell, a sneaky fast driver who comes from the Leavine Family Racing team.

Kasey Kahne, a four-time top-10 finisher at Daytona 500 is now at Leavine, and he has been leading the time charts throughout pre-season testing. A strong race from Kahne would not be a far-fetched possibility.

With Earnhardt Jr. retiring last season, it will be up to his nephew Jeffery Earnhardt to carry the family name in NASCAR as he drives for the brand-new team STARCOM Racing.

Predicted Winner: Brad Keselowski

Host Pay Per Head Services Invite You To Start Your FREE Trial NOW!

Up To 4 Weeks FREE, No Upfront Deposit Required!
CALL NOW 1–877–644–4678 or Simply Click Here for Live Chat

Leave a Reply