Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss who is the favorite to win the Daytona 500 on Sunday. Feel free to join the discussion with a comment of your own.
Jim Peltz, Los Angeles Times
Look for Kevin Harvick to win NASCAR’s crown-jewel race a second time. Choosing a driver to win the 500 always comes with a caveat, of course. Daytona International Speedway is a “restrictor-plate” track, meaning speeds are capped for safety and the field hurtles around the high-banked, 2.5-mile speedway in a pack. That means drivers need good drafting partners and there’s the risk of a big crash that could collect several of them. And NASCAR has introduced a new car this year, the Gen 6.
But Harvick not only is a former Daytona 500 winner (2007), the Californian already has shown he’s getting the handle of the new car by winning the exhibition Sprint Unlimited race at Daytona a week ago. The No. 29 Chevrolet should find itself in Victory Lane again.
Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel
The simplest and probably most-popular answer this week would be Danica Patrick. She posted some of the fastest times this week at Daytona International Speedway and became the first woman to ever earn the pole position for Sunday’s Daytona 500. However, that may not be a good thing considering only 17% of pole winners have gone on to win the race. The most recent pole winner to claim victory at Daytona was Dale Jarrett in 2000. That’s why I believe it will be Patrick’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Tony Stewart, who will take the checkered flag Sunday.