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Driver Recommendations for the 2010 Daytona 500

Posted by chadmusselman on February 10, 2010

NASCAR’s Super Bowl is almost here! This is probably the most exciting time of the year for most NASCAR teams as they try to get off to a fast start and set the tone for the rest of the season. The only question is, who will have the good finishes and start the year off right?

With the new bump drafting restrictions gone it should make for more physical racing and more fun to watch racing. Because of the potential physical nature of the race I don’t think the rookies, or even 2nd or 3rd year drivers will fare too well. Look for the veterans to perform well at Daytona.

Reminder of how I recommend the teams:
All recommendations are based on the rules of Chad’s Fantasy NASCAR. I’ll select one chaser, and an alternate chaser, in case you don’t like the chaser I picked. I pick three other drivers that did not make the chase last season, one of them being a dark horse. In order to be a dark horse the driver must be 16th or worse in the points standings. For the first 5 races of the season I’ll use the standings from 2009 to pick the dark horse.

This Week’s Recommendations:

Chaser: Kurt Busch
Kurt has been the most consistent at Daytona over the last 5 races finishing in the top ten each time with 3 top fives. For his career (18 races) he’s finished in the top ten 10 times and top five 9 times. Last year he showed that he was still a top tier driver, and I expect him to show it again this season. Kurt should get off to a good start by contending for the win at Daytona.

Alternate Chaser: Tony Stewart
No one could have predicted the year that Tony Stewart would have in 2009. The first year team owner got it done on the track and was in the points lead for much of the season. There should be no let-up this season, especially at Daytona where he has won 3 races. Tony hasn’t won the Daytona 500 yet in his career, but this year count on him running in the lead pack and having a chance to pull it off at the end.

Matt Kenseth
This weekend Matt will try to pull off back-to-back Daytona 500 wins. I don’t know if he’ll be able to do it, but he should be in the top ten. He’s finished there in 4 of the last 5 races in Daytona.

Kevin Harvick
Kevin doesn’t have the best record at Daytona with only 6 top tens in 17 races, but he looked pretty good for the Budweiser Shootout on Saturday night. I’m adding him to my team because of this, and because he’s my pick as the Comeback Driver of the Year. Kevin is too good of a driver to have back-to-back seasons finishing out of the top 15 in points.

Dark Horse: Elliott Sadler
Elliot finished 26th in the point standings last year, which unfortunately for him is about average. The good news for Sadler fans is that he runs well at Daytona. He finished 5th in last year’s 500, and 9 of his 68 career top ten finishes have come at this track. In 6 of the last races here he’s finished in the top ten. Those look like pretty good numbers to me.

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