TSD Daytona 500 Preview and Prediction

imagesCALN1WPQThe 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season kicks off this Sunday at 1pm with the 55th running of the Daytona 500 on FOX.  The Sports Dump gets you ready and gives you the lowdown on what to watch.

  • How is the Gen 6 car going to react on Sunday?  We have already seen different racing than before at Daytona this week and it is direct product of the new car.  The Gen 6 was made to make racing on NASCAR’s other tracks more watchable, but on the super speedways (Daytona and Talladega) it means less passing.  Look for a some early wrecks while the drivers adjust and for things to slow down late.  For the first time in years the lap 10 leader of the 500 may be in the best position.
  • imagesDanica Patrick won the pole (Not the race, Donovan) with a track record of 196.434 mph and became the first woman to claim the top spot for the Daytona 500.  Danica is a longshot for a win, but she is bringing a spark to sport that is in desperate need for one.
  • Jeff Gordon vs. Clint Bowyer:  The two drivers clashed during the 2012 Chase and have not made up since.  Bowyer’s pissed that Jeff wrecked his chance at a title in 2012 and Gordon is mad that Bowyer always seems to bump him.  I don’t expect sparks between these two drivers at Daytona, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
  • Can Kevin Harvick sweep Daytona speedweek?  Harvick won the Sprint Unlimited on Saturday and his Bud Duel on Thursday and is looking to become the first driver to ever finish that feat up with a 500 victory.  His car is strong and he will be among the leaders all day.  A Harvick victory also means 5,000 hits to our April Fools story about his divorce.
  • michael-waltrip-4_3_r541_c540Two-time Daytona 500 winner, Micheal Waltrip will be starting 29th in the #26 Swan Racing Toyota.  The car will be a rolling tribute to the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy and will remind fans to donate by texting NEWTOWN to 80888.  Here’s to a 3rd 500 win for Waltrip.
  • Ray Lewis will be the honorary starter for the race and will be waiving the green flag at the start.  I am just glad they didn’t ask him to do the benediction.
  • 2012 Daytona 500 Champ, Matt Kenseth is starting his JGR career this weekend.  Kenseth left Roush Racing after 13 years and looks to be the first Back-2-Back winner since Sterling Marlin did it in 94-95.
  • There are no more Dodges on the track after the manufacturer decided not to back a team for the 2013 season.  I don’t know if Dodge will ever be back, but after leaving the sport John Elway style, I wouldn’t.
  • tsJumbo’s 2013 Daytona 500 Pick (Besides the obvious favorite, Clint Bowyer):  Tony Stewart has 18 career wins on the big track, but has come up short in the 500 14 times.  I have a feeling that the 15th time will be the charm for Smoke.
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