The MENCS competes at Daytona International Speedway this week in the Coke Zero 400. The races on the Superspeedways tend to be very unpredictable. You must save your top drivers (Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Erik Jones and Alex Bowman) for the more predictable tracks. Anything can happen in this race so any driver can finish in the top 10 regardless of where he starts the race.
We often see one manufacturer dominate the plate tracks. This week I am loading up on the Fords. Here are my picks for Daytona…
Joey Logano (8): Logano is one of the best restrictor-plate drivers in the sport and the best pick in Group A. Logano won the last race at a superspeedway (Talladega) and he enters the race Saturday night with three consecutive top-four finishes on the plate tracks. He has finished four of the last five races at Daytona in the top six. Team Penske has been the best team on the plate tracks since 2015 and Logano will have a great chance to go to Victory Lane for the second time this season.
Group A Rankings: 1) Joey Logano 2) Denny Hamlin 3) Brad Keselowski 4) Kevin Harvick 5) Kyle Busch 6) Jimmie Johnson 7) Martin Truex Jr. 8) Kyle Larson
Aric Almirola (8): Almirola came so close to winning the Daytona 500. He drove a great race and it was his first time in the seat of the No. 10 car. Almirola backed up his strong run at Daytona with a 7th-place finish at Talladega. Almirola was very good at the superspeedways even before joining Stewart-Haas Racing. Almirola has finished five consecutive plate races in the top 11. He is one of the best drivers at staying out of trouble and one of the safest picks for your team this week.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (7): People say you have to be a little crazy to run well on the superspeedways. Stenhouse either has more guts or less brains than the completion. He often drives his car where he should not go. Stenhouse told Fox Sports, “I learned a lot from Dale Earnhardt Jr. He taught me that you must be aggressive on these tracks and that is the way I drive. If you worry about trouble it will usually find you.” Stenhouse used his aggressive drafting style to win two plate races last year. He will make you very nervous if he is in your lineup but usually he pays off with a good finish for your team.
Group B Rankings: 1) Ryan Blaney 2) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 3) Clint Bowyer 4) Kurt Busch 5) Aric Almirola 6) Chase Elliott 7) Austin Dillon 8) Paul Menard
Michael McDowell (7): It is time to saddle up the McDowell horse whenever the MENCS series competes on a superspeedway. He is always a great choice in Group C at these tracks. McDowell has a habit of finding his way to the front at the end of these races. He is much better at Daytona than he is at Talladega. McDowell has an average finishing position of 10.6 in his last six races at Daytona. He is the second-best choice in Group C this week.
Group C Rankings: 1) Alex Bowman 2) Michael McDowell 3) Darrell Wallace Jr. 3) David Ragan 4) Brendan Guaghan 5) William Byron
Good luck this week!
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