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Daytona 500: Power Rankings

Joey Logano wins 3 years after his first win here!

NASCAR: Daytona 500 Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Well, as goes Yahoo’s Golf so goes Auto Racing. It is no longer and I am left finding a new fantasy venue.

Since the Yahoo format is no more, I will be adapting this year to a Power Ranking system. The rule I have implemented for myself are:

1. I will not pick a driver more than 10 times this season.

2. Due to #1 these are “Power Rankings” (in quotations) such that I’m not going to be picking Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch every week. I’m looking for value here.

3. My general format for my power rankings

A.) top 2 picks will generally be the favorites, the ones who should be top 5 or top 10 finishes.

B.) #3 and #4 will be your riskier picks, could be top 5 or bottom 15.

C.) Pick #5 is the dark horse.

Race Information

Race: Daytona 500

Laps: 200

Date: February 18th

Venue: Daytona International Speedway

2017 Winner: Kurt Busch (3 hours; 29 minutes)

Broadcast: Fox

The 60th Daytona 500 is almost here and with it comes the opening of the 2018 season. This year brings the additional of common flat splitter and a radiator/oil cooler not to mention the elimination of the ride height rule which will advance liftoff speed up to potentially 30MPH.

Course: Daytona International Speedway. 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.

Power Rankings

1.) The Favorites

Joey Logano. No driver has been more consistent or better at Daytona over the last three years than Joey. After outdueling Kevin Harvick for his 2015 win here, he finished 6th in 2016 and #5 in 2017. I’m secretly bullish on Joey to be back in the final four at seasons end this year after a rough go down the final half of 2017.

2.) The Favorites

Denny Hamlin. The 2016 Daytona winner finished 4thhere in 2015. Last year he struggled a bit finishing 17thbut I’m optimistic he can come back to a top 5 player this year. Oh and did I mention he will be 2nd out of the Pole?

NASCAR: Daytona 500-Qualifying Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

3.) High Risk / High Reward

Kasey Kahne. Over the last three years at Daytona, Kasey has finished 9th (2015); 13th (2016) and 7th(2017). That is among both the most consistent and best averages of any drivers on the circuit.

4.) High Risk / High Reward

Alex Bowman. Bowman the Showman as he’s called, Alex had some big shoes to fill stepping into Dale Earnhardt Jr’s 88 car this year. He wasted no time making a name for himself winning the pole for Daytona. Usually I sit back a few races to see what they can do (last few years with Chase Elliott, Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones) but I’m in hook line and sinker.

NASCAR: Daytona 500-Media Day Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

5.) The Dark Horse

Michael McDowell. Finishing 15th each of the last two years, Michael is my 5th spot/ dark horse for Daytona. He finished up 2017 in decent fashion finishing within the top 25 each of the last 5 races. He won’t be a top 10 favorite but for his usage he could be a top 15 finish.