Who to Watch for as NASCAR Heads Back to Daytona

By Kevin Van Pelt

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns this weekend to Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400. Matt Kenseth won Daytona 500 this season for the second time in his career and is currently the points leader.

This is the third of the four restrictor plate this season and anything can happen this weekend. The pack racing was back the last time the Sprint Cup teams were at Daytona and expect more of the same this weekend. Let’s take a look at some of the drivers to watch for at Daytona.

Matt Kenseth– As mentioned before he won the Daytona 500 earlier this year. It was his second 500 victory of his career and Kenseth has become one of the best restrictor plate racers in the garage. He is one of only two drivers to have two top 5 finishes in both restrictor plate races this year and he also has the best average finish in the last 10 July races at Daytona.

Kurt Busch– He may be driving for an underfunded and undermanned race team in Phoenix Racing, but Busch has been performing well at tracks where the driver has more control over his car. He almost won at Sonoma a few weeks back and was in contention to win at Talladega until a late spin. The older Busch brother has four top 10’s in the past five July races at Daytona with an average finish of 6.6. Busch has one of his best chances to win this weekend and he will be in contention to the end.

Kasey Kahne– When restrictor plate racing is brought up, the name Kasey Kahne never comes to anyone’s mind when talking who to pick for the win. However, Kahne quietly does pretty well at Daytona and Talladega. In the last five Coke Zero 400’s, Kahne has an average finish of 7.4, which is third best.

David Ragan– Believe it or not Ragan has a chance to win this race. Yes, he drives for Front Row Motorsports, but Ragan is a great restrictor plate racer. He got his only top 10 this season at Talladega and is the defending winner of this race. His average finish in his last five July Daytona races is 13.8. Since he is with a low-funded team, expect Ragan to hang in the back to avoid trouble and make a run late.

It is almost anyone’s race when it comes to Daytona. There will be plenty of drivers who think they can win this race come Saturday night. Keep an eye on these four drivers as they will be contenders heading into the closing laps. But just like the rest of the field, these four drivers need to make sure they avoid trouble and don’t get caught up in the big one.


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