Daytona Beach, Fla – Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske clearly look like the teams to beat entering Sunday’s 59th annual Daytona 500. Since 2005, Hendrick and Gibbs have been the top two organizations during Daytona Speedweeks. Each of them have a combined 31 victories during those Speedweeks alone, with JGR nabbing 16 trips to victory lane and Hendrick’s 15. In fact, since 2013’s Daytona Speedweeks, JGR and Hendrick have combined to win 15 of the 19 Speedweeks Cup races.
The only ones they didn’t win was 2017 Clash at Daytona (Joey Logano- Team Penske), 2015 Daytona 500 (Joey Logano-Team Penske), 2013 Clash at Daytona (Kevin Harvick- Richard Childress Racing) and 2013 Can-Am Duels (Kevin Harvick- Richard Childress Racing).
So, add Penske to the JGR and Hendrick list, and you have the trio combining to win 17 of the last 19 Speedweeks races.
Tonight, the trio led all but three of the 120 laps in the Duels, but those three they didn’t lead were from Ryan Blaney in a Wood Brothers car, which has an alliance with Team Penske. Translation, they led all the laps including winning both races.
But, one team is lurking and that’s Stewart-Haas Racing.
SHR was right behind that trio on Thursday night as Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch came home second and third respectively in the second duel. Kevin Harvick finished third in the first duel himself, giving SHR three cars in the top six starting spots.
Harvick and Bowyer will share Row 2 while Busch will lineup on the Outside of Row 4 in eighth. Add to the fact that Danica Patrick brought her No. 10 Ford home seventh in the second duel too and earned a starting spot of 14th for Sunday’s Daytona 500, and you can see why the foursome at SHR are extremely thrilled about their chances this weekend.
All four will start up front and all four have cars good enough to win. That’s a good sign with this being their first race under Ford power.
Unfortunately, they have yet to lead a lap during this year’s Speedweeks, but fortunately, they’ve been close. Maybe they will lead the only one that matters, the last one on Sunday.