The NASCAR Cup Series will set the front row for the 62nd of the Daytona 500 Sunday. There are many Fantasy NASCAR games which award bonus points for correctly selecting the pole winner. Fantasy Live (on nascar.com) awards five bonus points for correctly selecting the pole winner. This may not sound like a lot of points, but every point counts in Fantasy NASCAR.
The Cup Series had two practices Saturday. Ty Dillon posted the fastest speed in the first practice and Bubba Wallace led the field in the second practice. These two drivers had times aided by the draft so we need to focus on the single-car runs for our picks. Jimmie Johnson had the fastest single-car speed in the first practice and Alex Bowman was fastest in the second practice. (According the Fox Sports).
Hendrick Motorsports has dominated the poles in the last five Daytona 500s. Jeff Gordon won the pole in 2015, Chase Elliott in 2016 and 2017, Alex Bowman in 2018 and William Byron won the pole last year. Can they do it again? I am concerned about the Camaro ZL1 1LE car that makes its debut at Daytona. The report from the garage is that the new Chevy has more down-force. That is good news for the race, but it could be bad news for qualifying. More down-force usually equals slower speed, but better handling. After looking at the speed charts from practice, it looks like the Chevy’s may have race and qualifying speed for the Daytona 500.
My Pole Pick
The winner of the pole should come down to the four drivers from Hendrick Motorsports (Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Alex Bowman and William Byron). Any of the HMS drivers would be good picks based on history at the Daytona 500 and practice speeds. The president of Toyota Racing Development (TRD) to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, “Do not pick a Toyota for the pole. Our cars are built for the race and not for starting up front. I will take his word and eliminate all Toyota’s from consideration. The best Ford should be Kevin Harvick. If you want to be contrarian and pick a non-HMS driver, I would go with the No. 4 car.
The NASCAR Gods have a funny way of making a story from the Daytona 500 pole winner so that the media has something to talk about during Speedweeks. I think the story for the next week will be about the seven-time champion starting his last Daytona 500 from the pole.
Jimmie Johnson is my pick to win the pole.
Good luck with your teams this season!
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