25 February 2012

2012 Daytona 500 Preview

It's the 54th annual running of the Great American Race, the Daytona 500 at the world center of racing down in Daytona. We got a surprise winner in Trevor Bayne last year, will we see someone else surprising win this year? Here's my 2012 Daytona 500 preview.

First, here's the starting lineup:
1. Carl Edwards
2. Greg Biffle
3. Tony Stewart
4. Matt Kenseth
5. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
6. Regan Smith
7. Marcos Ambrose
8. Jimmie Johnson
9. Jeff Burton
10. Elliott Sadler
11. Michael McDowell
12. Joey Logano
13. Kevin Harvick
14. Kyle Busch
15. A.J. Allmendinger
16. Jeff Gordon
17. Robby Gordon
18. Ryan Newman
19. Jamie McMurray
20. Kasey Kahne
21. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
22. Mark Martin
23. Brad Keselowski
24. Dave Blaney
25. David Ragan
26. Martin Truex, Jr.
27. Aric Almirola
28. Kurt Busch
29. Danica Patrick
30. Clint Bowyer
31. Denny Hamlin
32. Bobby Labonte
33. David Gilliland
34. Joe Nemechek
35. Juan Pablo Montoya
36. Casey Mears
37. Paul Menard
38. David Reutimann
39. Landon Cassill
40. Trevor Bayne
41. David Stremme
42. Tony Raines
43. Terry Labonte

As for a potential darkhouse, Furniture Row Racing has proven itself to be an under-the-radar contender on the plate tracks over the past several years, especially when they teamed up with Regan Smith, who is also a very good plate racer as well, coming close to a win at Talladega a few years back. With their Childress motors, they always seem to be running near the front at these tracks, plus he finished second in the second Duel race, so if you are looking for someone to really surprise, Smith could be your guy and could very well be this year's Trevor Bayne.

In terms of a sleeper, I have been really impressed all Speedweeks with the speed that has been shown by the Tasmanian Devil, Marcos Ambrose. In his Petty ford, Ambrose, who is not known for being a great plate racer, has shown a lot of speed and ran very well in the first Duel race, finishing third.

But the man I am picking for the win is Tony Stewart. Smoke is an elite plate racer and has been tremendous thus far in Daytona. He has shown a lot of speed and we all know his skill in the draft, when you win four times on the two plate tracks, thrice at the World Center of Racing, plus he also won the first Duel race. I think this will be the year the defending Cup Series champion finally wins his first Daytona 500.

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