Top 5 Contenders For Daytona Coke Zero 400

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Who will make some noise at the Daytona Coke Zero 400?

Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR drivers willface the use of restrictor plates for the third time this season at Daytona International Speedway’s Coke Zero 400.

The Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway are the only restrictor plate tracks on the calendar. Known for bunching up the pack, "plate" racing really tests the skill of the driver. Used as a means of slowing the cars down at fast tracks, a different form of racing is needed to overcome the bunching. Instead of being able to pass with pure horsepower and grunt, alternative tactics such as drafting are required, and considering this all takes place within a large pack of cars, accidents are almost guaranteed to be often and violent — just the slightest contact can turn into a mass pile-up as being so close together leaves no time to react.

Success at the Coke Zero 400 equates to luck and opting out of battling at the front until the final part of the race. Mixing it up at front is a sure way of getting involved in a massive wreck, so staying back and out of trouble is best, although this takes some patience from a natural born racer.

Only the wiliest and cunning know how to make it stick until the last 25 laps or so, and it’s only then do they really stand a decent chance of outfoxing the rest to cruise into victory lane.

Listed in this slideshow are my top five drivers in with a shot at the Coke Zero 400. Although due to the furious nature of racing, there's also a very good chance for the lower ranked drivers to pounce too.

Let the chaos commence!

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5. Joey Logano

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Logano has finished in the top 10 in three of his last four starts at Daytona, also managing to finish consistently in the top five in his last two outings at the Coke Zero 400. Logano taking a win here really isn't out of the question.

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4. Brad Keselowski

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Keselowski has won two restrictor plate races, and although they both came at Talladega, he has come close to victory at Daytona recently. Last season saw him finish eighth at the 400 and he managed fourth at this year's Daytona 500 . One fact that increases his chances is his second-highest haul of points scored at the restrictor plate tracks since 2012.

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3. Kevin Harvick

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Harvick will be looking to avoid Kyle Busch this weekend as the 28-year old has wrecked him at both restrictor plate races this season. That being said, his overall statistics on these tracks are good, being a two-time winner of the 500 and finishing seventh or better four times in his last seven starts at the track.

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2. Matt Kenseth

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Kenseth’s last outing at Daytona was at the 500 where he suffered an engine failure, revealing the beginning signs of Toyota’s unreliability problems. Despite this, Kenseth has managed to notch up third or higher in three of his last four starts here. The No. 20 car also leads in wins and top-five finishes at restrictor plate races since the start of the last season.

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1. Tony Stewart

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Stewart’s still yet to win the season-opening Daytona 500 here; however, he has dominated the Coke Zero 400 event. Coming in as the defending winner, Stewart has won at here in July four times over the past five years. It just seems as though this track was made for the 42-year-old.