NSCS: 57th Annual Daytona 500 Preview

Wednesday, Feb 18 2148

JOPLIN, Mo. - The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will tackle the Daytona International Speedway on Sunday afternoon for one of the biggest stock-car events annually, the Daytona 500. With several practice sessions already complete, and qualifying for the front row, it is already shaping up to be one of the best races yet.

A total of 49 drivers showed up to fill only 43 available spots for the “Super Bowl” of NASCAR. Some of the fresh faces include Trevor Bayne, Sam Hornish Jr., Ryan Blaney, Jeb Burton, Justin Marks, Ron Hornaday Jr., Ty Dillon and Johnny Sauter. The No. 87 of Joe Nemechek withdrew, making the car count just below 50 entries.

Tony Stewart has made all kinds of achievements throughout his NASCAR career. Two Sprint Cup Series championships, two-time Brickyard 400 victories and Sunoco Rookie of the Year title all make up that list. However, one thing that’s missing from that list? A Daytona 500. With that said, however, Stewart has won at Daytona a total of four different times in July. With the struggles he had to cover-come the last two years, a Daytona 500 victory without question would give the driver some momentum  heading into the new season. Stewart comes into the race as one of the fan favorites for Sunday afternoon.

Everyone remembers last year’s Daytona 500. Remember? The one where Dale Earnhardt Jr. went to victory lane? That one. Earnhardt comes into the weekend looking to be the fourth driver to only accomplish the feat. If he does so on Sunday, he will join the short list of Richard Petty (1973-1974), Cale Yarborough (1983-1984) and Sterling Marlin (1994-1995). Not only would he join that list, but also the list of drivers with three victories in the race. The No. 88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet will definitely be a threat for the win on Sunday and among the fan favorite all day long.

As you have probably heard of by now, Jeff Gordon will be racing in his final Daytona 500. Not only is the day already special for that particular reason, but also because he will lead the field to the green flag on Sunday. Last Sunday afternoon, Gordon posted a time of 44.711 seconds, 201.293 mph. to earn his second Daytona 500 pole. He will also have his teammate, Jimmie Johnson, on his outside. The pole marks his 78th of his Sprint Cup Series career.

Fans can follow the Daytona 500 in more ways than ever. For the first time, fans can follow the race via NASCAR.com’s Race Buddy application. If you want the standard broadcast, and your provider participates in it, you can also watch on FOX Sports Go. And of course, the Motor Racing Network will supply the live radio coverage of the race. Fans can watch the race live on FOX at 1:00 p.m. Et. on Sunday.

Brett Winningham

Brett has been following the sport of NASCAR since the beginning of the 2006 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Since Brett was 13, he has had a passion of chasing a job in sports that not many get the opportunity of doing. He has been in the NASCAR media since the middle of the 2010 season. Since then, he has been a part of many racing podcast shows to improve his talents. You can find him on twitter @NASCAR_Brett.