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Fantasy Auto Racing: Daytona 500

Denny and Dale are the favorites but I think Martin will get the win.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Auto Racing: Daytona 500

What: Daytona 500
When: February 26th
Where: Daytona International Speedway
2016 Winner: Denny Hamlin

Much like the Golf articles, I will follow Yahoo's Fantasy Auto Racing where you pick 2 A Racers, 4 B Racers and 2 C Racers. As such I will pick one from A, 2 from B and 1 from C (as if they were your starters) along with one Dark Horse pick.

Track: Daytona International Speedway. I know I'm not the only one who gets excited at the mention of this track. It represents a fresh start, new beginning, the field is at 0 and anyone can win it. This track was built in 1959 by William France Sr, it is more open allowing drivers to really open up as the inaugural Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of 2017. Lights were introduced in 1998 and the track was most recently repaved in 2010. The track runs 31 degree high banks and is 2.5 miles long. At courses that open up like this and Talladega look for racers who do best under the restrictor plate races.

Martin Truex Jr. Denny Hamlin won it last year but it's been over 20 years since we saw a back to back champion, do you remember who was inches from taking it from him? Dale Earnhardt Jr is another popular pick but Martin doesn't always get the love he should here. Going 5th out of the gate (vs. an average spot of 20th) he has finished in the top 10 the last two years here: 2nd last year and 8th in 2015 and given his improvements over the years he should be a threat down the final few laps.

Austin Dillon. I will not hide this. I'm a big fan of his skills as a driver, I think he will be a regular top ten threat during most of his races. Entering his 5th season he's proving to be a force to contend with and showed that much of last year, first and foremost with a 9th place finish at the Dayton 500 to start off his 2016 campaign.

Chase Elliot. The pole win not-withstanding, I think Elliot has shown here that he can race the best once you remove the noise. Now two big things -€” 1 you can't remove the noise, and 2 some theorize that Hendricks cars struggle here. He finished 37th last year after a crash on lap 20 but did lead for 3 laps. What I'm hoping for is a quick curve for Elliot out of the gate. I don't anticipate a victory out of him, I'm more banking on a 6-10 place finish.

David Ragan. He's shown he can be scrappy and pull through when the conditions/wrecks are right. 29th last year and 17th in 2015, he doesn't have the best results but he does have a long history here. Much like Chase, I don't anticipate a win out of David but what I DO think is he could lead for 5 laps or so under the right circumstances. 

Dark Horse.
Daniel Suarez. Ahh the fresh fun of speculating on the rookie. Becoming the first Mexican-born driver to race full time in the Top Division is a bit of pressure but now to add the big shoes left by Carl Edwards is something else. He's obviously proven tremendous potential to earn his way here and was in 2nd place in the exhibition clash before finishing 8th. He also fell just outside of the round 2 for pole racing, he's got speed.