The Daytona 500, the start of a new NASCAR season, restrictor plates, drafting, a driver cannot win this on his own, he must work together with his pit crew and others on the track in order to get the job done. Here are my picks for who might win the 2011 Daytona 500.
1. #22 Kurt Busch Busch has won everything throughout “speed weeks” since he came to Daytona this year. He won the “Bud Shootout” bonus race last week, he also won his “Gatorade Duel” qualifying race. If Busch stays out of trouble he could win the Daytona 500 too! If Kurt Busch is able to win the Great American Race he will become the first driver to completely sweep “speed weeks.” Not to mention he would lead the points!
2. #24 Jeff Gordon Jeff is sick of losing, and he’s a really good plate racer. Jeff hasn’t won a race in over a year. He’s hungry and he could pull it off.
3. #31 Jeff Burton Burton has been strong throughout “speed weeks” Burton won the other Gatorade Duel qualifying race and he was dominant in the Bud Shootout before Kurt Busch took over.
Guys To Watch
1. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 10 years after losing his father in a last lap crash at this very racetrack, there will still be a lot of fans wanting Earnhardt Jr. to win this race so that he can help them with their healing process. Earnhardt won the pole but crashed his car in a later practice and had to go to a back up. He will have to start in the back. If anyone can come from the back to win, Earnhardt Jr. could, he’s done it before.
2. #78 Regan Smith Smith has been a very underrated drafter but he has had success here at Daytona all week. He could be a factor for the win, whether he wins himself or helps someone else is yet to be seen.
3. #15 Michael Waltrip Waltrip won the truck race yesterday, February 18, 2011. 10 years to the day after he won the fateful 2001 Daytona 500 race. He is a good drafter, and with some help he could win yet again.