RACE PREVIEW

dy 18.1

DAYTONA 500

DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Feb 18th, 2:30 PM EST, FOX TV

2.5 MILES, 31 Degrees of Banking

Big banking and big stakes make this race different than any other. Last year’s winner, Kurt Busch, received over a million dollars and nearly universal recognition: not a bad payday. On Sunday 40 drivers will hit the steep 31 degree banking of the Daytona International Speedway.After three months off, many days of practice, the Advance Auto Parts Clash race, and the Can-Am Duel races, it’s time to start the 2018 season for real. Forty drivers are enteredfor this race so no drivers will be sitting in the stands on race day. Good news for sponsors, tough news for race fans looking for wild dual races. With Alex Bowman and Denny Hamlin in the front, you would think that sets up a Toyota vs Chevrolet battle in the 500. Not so fast, Brad Keslowski won the Clash in a Ford and the next three drivers also had the blue Ford oval.

Fourteen drivers that have won a points’ race here will be in the field. During the Clash we saw a good amount of blocking and push-drafting that has become a big part of restrictor plate racing. Because of rule changes and the use of a restrictor plate we don’t know exactly what we’ll see, but we will get a hint Thursday during the Can-Am Duel races.

This year’s Daytona 500 will feature two 60-lap stages followed by a final 80-lap stage, with points available in all stages. The same as last year. We’ll be hoping we don’t see “the big one” – a major wreck that takes out most of the field. But it seems almost certain we will. The last 80 promise to very intense. Seven  years ago Trevor Bayne burst onto the scene and became instantly known in just his second Sprint Cup start, will we see another unknown become a known? We’ll know on Sunday!

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