DAYTONA BEACH, Fla – The racing season is here. Sunday, will mark the 40th annual Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona (3 p.m. ET/FS1/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). 17 drivers will take on the high banks of the Daytona International Speedway to kick Speedweeks off with a win.
Out of those 17 drivers though, I broke it down to who I think the five favorites are going to be.
Listen: Clash Preview Podcast
While there won’t be any qualifying for this race and very limited practice time, it will be difficult to predict who will reach victory lane at the World Center of Racing on Sunday. But, if you factor in past stats, these are the five I have my eyes on.
5 Favorites For Sunday’s Clash at Daytona –
The Team Penske driver is the defending race winner and he’s been stellar in this race in previous years. Out of the last five Clashes, Logano has finished in the top six in all of them. His finishes in fact are third, fourth, sixth, second and first respectively. He’s a very good restrictor plate racer and is on a Penske team who combined with Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing, have won 17 of the last 18 Speedweeks races.
The 2016 Daytona 500 champion is also a three-time winner of this race as well. Hamlin, has four top five finishes in the last eight races in fact. He also led 27 laps in 2014, 39 in 2016 and 48 more in 2017. He’s going to be a factor on Sunday.
Why not have two JGR drivers on here? After all, JGR has won four of the last six Clashes at Daytona. The Clash is a race that suits Busch’s driving style. Short, action packed and aggression. Busch ,has four top eight finishes, three of which in the top three, in the last six years, including a win in 2012. He most certainly can end up in Gatorade victory lane this weekend.
Ford has been so strong on restrictor plate tracks lately, winning seven straight points paying races on them, including 11 of the last 14. I’d throw Kevin Harvick into the mix because of that stat. Harvick has three top five finishes in his last five Clash starts and seven of the last 10. He’s a prior Daytona 500 winner and is normally very good during Speedweeks.
I’d also put Kyle Larson in this favorite category too. He has two top five finishes in three Clash starts and his manufacturer Chevrolet has a race record 20 trips to victory lane in the Clash. No one has has double digit wins in the race. If you remember correctly too, Larson was one lap away from winning the Daytona 500 last year, but unfortunately he ran out of gas while leading. Then, in the return trip to Daytona in July, he was sent airborne heading into the tri-oval while leading over the final laps as well.