Daytona 500 Predictions
It’s been a long three months for all the drivers expect for 2012 Sprint Cup Champion Brad Keselowski, but the 2013 season is just around the corner. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will kick-off the new year with the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 24. The race is scheduled for 8:00 EST at Daytona International Speedway and will be televised nationally on FOX.
While other sports have their biggest event typically scheduled for the end of the season, the Sprint Cup Series starts off with the most important and prestigious race of the entire year. This is arguably the only race that drivers consider a must win to solidify their career. With so much at stake drivers will do almost anything to get a win, which is why we typically see a number of caution flags.
At last year’s Daytona 500, Matt Kenseth was able to bring home the checkered flag for his second win at this event in the last four years. Kenseth is one of just nine drivers who have won the event on multiple occasions.
While Kenseth celebrated the win, NASCAR breathed a sigh of relief after one of the craziest Daytona 500′s of all-time was in the books. For starters, the event was postponed to Monday for the first time in 54 years due to rain. The race was re-scheduled for noon on Monday, but rain prevented it from starting until 7:00 EST. It was the first time in the history of this historic event that it was run inn primetime. To top it all off, one of the most bizarre accidents took place during the race. During a cation on lap 160, Juan Pablo Montoya was returning from a pit stop and was trying to get caught back up with the field, when a trailing arm on Montoya’s car broke and caused him to loose control and slide into two jet dryers that were clearing the track of debris. A fuel leak followed and would catch fire, resulting in a fire wall across the track. The race was suspended for 2 hours due to this freak wreck. It just goes to show you that you never know what you might see at the Daytona 500.
For those of you looking to place a wager on who will make their way into victory lane on Sunday, here is a look at the two drivers I am going to be betting with their odds to win the race.
Jeff Gordon (+1100)
While Gordon hasn’t won the Daytona 500 since 2005, he’s brought home the checkered flag three times. I believe Gordon is primed for a strong season after winning just two races all of last year. He’s also going to be extremely motivated after an engine failure forced him to withdraw just 81 laps into the race.
Kevin Harvick (+1200)
I like Harvick’s chances of capturing his second Daytona 500 title this week. He’s been very strong at this event ever since he broke through with a win here back in 2007. In his last five starts he has three finishes inside the top seven, including a runner-up finish back in 2009. Harvick will also be out to start the new season strong after a miserable 2012 season. After racking up 7 wins in 2010 and 2011 combined, he won just one race all of last season.