TRACK: Daytona International Speedway (3.61 mile road course) DISTANCE: 70 Laps – STAGE 1: 16?Laps, Stage 2: 18 Laps, FINAL STAGE 36 LAPS, 252.7 Miles)
WEATHER: RAIN 0%, 66 degrees high
There’s not much to be honest. This is among one of NASCAR’s newest tracks that they visit now. Yes, Daytona isn’t new per say but this layout is. It’s still in its infancy stage at the moment. The Cup Series has only raced on this course just twice now. One of which was last year in an impromptu points paying event last August and the other in last Tuesday’s Busch Clash.
Last August, Chase Elliott once again won on a road course in defeating the Joe Gibbs Racing duo of Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr.
Even without any preparation of practice or qualifying prior to their first ever race on this track, the race was pretty tame by NASCAR’s standards. Elliott, led three times for 34 laps as he took over the lead on the 52nd lap and never looked back.
Last Tuesday night was a phenomenal race with as many lead changes in 35 laps for the Clash than we had in 65 laps for the points paying race last August. This race will feature the lower downforce package again, similar to the Clash than last August. That’s the best indicator to look to.
Easiest one to compare to is the Charlotte ROVAL. Chase Elliott also won that race in each of the last two years too, which combine that with last year’s race on the Daytona road course and it’s clear who the favorite is. The best drivers on the ROVAL have been Elliott, Martin Truex Jr. and surprisingly Ryan Blaney. These are the ones to beat in Daytona this weekend too.