Fantasy Picks: Who to pick and Who not to pick for the 2014 Daytona 500

The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is set to see the green flag this Sunday afternoon as the 56th running of the Daytona 500 will get underway at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.

The Daytona International Speedway is a 2.5-mile tri-oval Superspeedway that sits on 480 acres of land in Daytona Beach, Florida and hosts The Great American Race each February to kick off the new season of NASCAR action.

Who To Pick 

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – The restrictor plate victories may not come in batches like they used to for Dale Jr. but the consistent great finishes still have stuck around as the Hendrick Motorsports driver has two top-fives, three top-tens and has finished no worse than 15th in the last four Daytona races. Jr. finished in the top-twenty in all four of last season’s restrictor plate races, and he has finished in the runner-up spot in the last two Daytona 500’s.

Danica Patrick – Danica Patrick’s best shot at a victory in 2014 will come this weekend at the Daytona International Speedway or at the three remaining restrictor plate races this season. Patrick’s only top-ten finish in her short Sprint Cup Series career came in last season’s Daytona 500, and she followed up that stellar run in February with a not too shabby finish of 14th in last season’s July race at the Daytona International Speedway.

Danica has the equipment and ability to bring home a strong finish this weekend, and she has a solid chance to silence her critics and bring home her first NASCAR victory this weekend in the Sunshine State.

Ryan Newman – The 2008 Daytona 500 winner has run very well at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway recently as he has two top-fives, three top-tens and has finished no worse than 21st in the last four Daytona races. Newman finished in the top-ten in both of last season’s Daytona races and a change in scenery from Stewart-Haas Racing to Richard Childress Racing, who as a whole has shown stellar speed early in this year’s Daytona Speedweeks, may prove great from the get go.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – In three Daytona races the driver of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford has brought home three top-twenty finishes, and Stenhouse finished twelve, thirteenth, eleventh and third in last season’s restrictor plate races. Stenhouse has finished no worse than twentieth in the five superspeedway races he has started in his short career.

Who Not To Pick 

Kasey Kahne – The Hendrick Motorsports driver rolls into the 2014 season with an average finish of 26th at the Daytona International Speedway over the last four Daytona races as he has failed to finish in the top five, and he has only been able to muster one top-ten finish in that span. Overall, Kahne has two top-fives, seven top-tens and has finished outside the top-twenty ten times in twenty career Daytona races.

Kahne started sixth and finished thirty-sixth in last year’s running of the Daytona 500.

Denny Hamlin – Last Saturday night Hamlin was able to survive the carnage and win his second Sprint Unlimited race but don’t expect him to sweep the Sprint Cup Series events this speedweeks.

Historically, Denny Hamlin has not run well at the high banks of the Daytona International Speedway as he posted just two top-tens and only seven top-twenties in sixteen career Daytona races. Hamlin has finishes of 14th, 36th, 25th, 4th, 13th and 21st in his last six Daytona races.

Martin Truex Jr. – Martin Truex Jr. will be starting second in the Daytona 500 come Sunday afternoon but if past results prove accurate, he will more than likely not finish there because the driver of the No. 78 Chevrolet has posted just one top-ten in seventeen career Daytona races.

Kyle Busch – The Daytona International Speedway hasn’t been kind to Rowdy in the last few seasons because he has failed to tally up a finish in the top-ten in the last four Sprint Cup Series races at the 2.5-mile Superspeedway. Overall, the results for Busch at Daytona aren’t remotely impressive as he as only finished in the top-ten in six of his eighteen career races at the legendary race track.

Kyle enters this weekend with an average finish of eighteenth at Daytona.


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